Six people have died from the flu so far in Illinois and this year's flu season has gotten an early start. According to a news release from the Illinois Department of Public Health, 150 people have been hospitalized in intensive care units in the state between October and the end of December.
Of the 150 hospitalized in ICU's around the state, six died. According to IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, hospitals in the state have seen such a large number of people coming to emergency rooms with flu-like symptoms that many have had to be turned away.
“Due to the increased flu activity, many people are going to hospital emergency departments. So much so that some hospitals have needed to direct all but the most critical patients to nearby hospitals because they do not have enough room or possibly staff to see patients," Hasbrouck stated in the news release.
Hasbrouck recommended that anyone suffering with flu-like symptoms should stay home and only those suffering with severe respiratory illness and trouble breathing should go to an ER.
"The majority of people suffering from the flu simply need to stay home, rest and let the flu run its course," Hasbrouck stated.
Hasbrouck also compared the number of patients hospitalized during this time period to the same time period last year. This year the numbers are 150 hospitalized in ICU's and six deaths and during this period last year, the IDPH reported "only two ICU hospitalizations and no deaths.”
According to statistics from the IDPH, Illinois averages about 3,500 deaths per year from flu and pneumonia. The highest number of deaths since 1992 was in 1993 when 4,021 deaths occurred.