High flu activity is being reported in Illinois according to Melaney Arnold, Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman on Jan. 18. In fact, Illinois is one of 30 states reporting high flu activity. The virus is striking earlier than usual this season and the main strain of flu seems to be making people sicker.
There have been 476 people admitted to hospital intensive care units in Illinois with the flu and 50 people have died this flu season. Public health officials are still encouraging people to get vaccinated against the flu. One piece of good news is that Chicago's flu hospitalizations have decreased for the second week in a row. This week there were nine patients in the hospital intensive care units whereas last week there were 31.
A spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Public Health, Dr. Julie Morita, said that the demand for the flu vaccine is still high, but not overwhelming. She says that supplies are good.
"This season is a reminder of how serious flu can be," Dr. Morita reminded people.
People over the age of 65 and children under 5 years old are the most at risk for the flu. The AARP (The American Association of Retired Persons) Illinois chapter is encouraging seniors to get flu shots. Additionally, the Associated Press is recommending that Illinois residents check in on their older family members helping them obtain a flu shot or obtaining treatment at a clinic if needed.
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