"There is no doubt we are
experiencing a severe flu season. However, we have seen severe flu
seasons before, and we will continue to work to reduce the number of
people who become ill," said Illinois Department of Public Health
Director LaMar Hasbrouck. "It is important for people to take
precautions -- get vaccinated, stay home if you're sick, and wash
your hands frequently. Doing all these things will not only help
keep you healthy, but the people around you healthy."
of flu that is predominately circulating in Illinois and the country
has historically been a more severe strain causing more
hospitalizations and deaths. This year is no exception. The number
of flu-related intensive care unit hospitalizations so far this year
is 368, with 27 flu-related ICU deaths. The majority of
hospitalizations and deaths are of people in their 50s and older.
The Illinois Department of Public Health expected to see an increase
in the number of hospitalizations and deaths as more health care
providers report cases from previous weeks as well as current cases.
The department anticipates those numbers will continue to increase.
Common symptoms of flu include sore throat, high fever, cough,
body aches and feeling fatigued. The department recommends you
contact a health professional before going to an emergency
department if you are experiencing flu symptoms. The majority of
people suffering from the flu simply need to stay home, rest, use
over-the-counter remedies as needed and let the flu run its course.
Several hospital emergency departments have recently had to refer
patients with such symptoms to other hospitals as they were at
capacity. Typically only people with severe respiratory illness who
have trouble breathing need to visit a hospital emergency
The best way to protect you and your loved ones from getting the
flu is to get a flu vaccination. To find locations where flu vaccine
is offered, you can go to
www.idph.state.il.us and enter your ZIP code in the Flu Vaccine
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Although flu vaccine is still widely available, the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention says some doctor's offices and
pharmacies have spot shortages. Therefore, call ahead before going
to get a vaccination. Currently manufacturers project producing 135
million doses of flu vaccine this season. At this time, the CDC is
indicating there are no known issues with the production of
antivirals, such as Tamiflu. However, some areas across the country
may experience a shortage because of high demand and pharmacies
reordering at the same time.
It is not too late to get a flu shot, to be vaccinated. The
vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months and older. The flu
season normally runs through March and sometimes later. The
estimated effectiveness of the vaccine is 62 percent. If you have
been vaccinated, but still get the flu, the vaccine can reduce the
amount of time you're sick and the severity of symptoms. By getting
vaccinated, you can also help protect infants, the elderly and those
with chronic diseases, who are at greatest risk for complications
due to the flu.
To help reduce the spread of flu and
other illnesses, it is important for everyone to practice the three
Properly wash your hands frequently.
Cover -- Cover
your cough and sneeze.
Contain -- Contain your germs by
staying home if you are sick.
For more information, visit
www.idph.state.il.us/flu/surveillance.htm. Illinois influenza
surveillance reports are posted on the website every Friday
Department of Public Health file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]