flu season

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Some hospitals in Illinois are restricting visitors because of a spike in flu cases.

FHN Memorial Hospital in Freeport reported 91 positive cases of flu this week, compared with three during the same time last year.  Based on recommendations from the Illinois Department of Public Health, it, like hospitals in similar situations, is limiting who can visit patients.  Nurse Margie Kochsmeir is the infection preventionist at FHN Memorial. She said measures also include removing potential gathering places for germs, such as magazines in the waiting room.

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It’s been 100 years since the Spanish Flu pandemic.

In 1918, the Spanish flu infected 500 million people, and killed at least 50 million, or about three percent of the world’s population at the time.  Patrick Perry is Executive Editor of the Saturday Evening Post, which wrote a retrospective of the pandemic. He says it spurred many changes in public health, such as socialized health care, and a better understanding of how diseases are spread.

Senior Airman Areca T. Wilson/ U.S. Air Force

Health officials across the country report flu cases are starting to match numbers seen from the H1N1 outbreak nearly a decade ago.

Senior Airman Areca T. Wilson/ U.S. Air Force

Several areas throughout Illinois are experiencing heightened flu activity, and one preliminary report shows the flu vaccine may only be 10% effective.  

  

The numbers show this is already a more active flu season. At this time last year, Memorial Medical Center in Springfield had treated 14 cases of influenza. So far this year: 93 cases. Some doctors simply say the flu is peaking sooner this year, but the effectiveness of this year’s flu shot is also a concern.