Melaney Arnold, a spokeswoman for the IDPH, informed news officials last month that over 470 people had been admitted to the intensive care units of Illinois hospitals for the flu.
The rise in people seeking treatment even led to reports that emergency rooms in at least 8 major Chicago hospitals were turning away patients with influenza symptoms due to overcrowding, and asking area ambulances to bypass their facilities in cases of patients reporting flu like systems.
Illinois is just one of 41 states that have reported a "widespread outbreak" of this seasons influenza virus, including New York, Michigan and Minnesota.
While CDC officials state that the flu vaccine is in full supply, many consumers still harbor fears about the safety and reliability of getting vaccinated against the flu, especially after the controversy surrounding the December death of seven year old Vermont girl, Kaylynne Barton, who died four days after receiving a flu shot from her family doctor.
The Center for Disease Control is recommending that anyone, especially those who reside in states that have been hit the hardest, receive a flu vaccinations immediately, even if they've already been diagnosed with the flu this season.
"We strongly encourage people to get vaccinated, and we'd like them to do that as soon as possible," Dr. Michael Jhung, a CDC flu expert, stated in an interview with Reuters, adding that the "current batch of flu vaccines appear to be a good match for this year's flu."
Beyond getting vaccinated, many easy to follow practices can help prevent spreading the flu, including frequently washing your hands, sanitizing common objects in the home such as telephones and door knobs, staying home from work or school to recover if you are feeling ill.