influenza

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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.

"Syringe and Vaccine" by Flickr User NIAID / (CC X 2.0)

The Illinois Department of Public Health says vaccination is an excellent defense against two prominent diseases. 

The first is Hepatitis A. This is a highly contagious liver disease that can cause symptoms such as fatigue, stomach pain, and jaundice. Public Health Director Ngozi Ezike said the disease is widespread, and there’s been an outbreak in Illinois since September 2018.

“It has actually been nationwide, over 30 states, But in Illinois specifically, we’ve had 177 related cases, and one death associated with that," she said.

Library of Congress

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.

Influenza Cases On The Rise Across State

Jan 9, 2018
"Box of Kleenex" by Flickr User m01229 / (CC X 2.0)

The number of flu cases is spiking across the state.

Health officials say the spike is happening early in the season. 

Todd Kisner is with the Winnebago County Health Department. He says he’s seen reported cases nearly quadruple over the past month.

“As far as the number of flu cases this early, it’s a little early for us," he said. "But that hopefully means it will end early.”

He says the flu season typically runs through April.

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.

Influenza Cases Peaking In Northern Illinois

Mar 7, 2017
"Box of Kleenex" by Flickr User m01229 / (CC X 2.0)

Spring is right around the corner, but the end of flu season is not.

The Winnebago County Health Department says it’s seeing a high volume of influenza in the region; a recent report showed more than 300 new cases within a week. 

But that isn’t unexpected this time of year.

Todd Kisner, with the health department, says more than 60 percent of the new cases were among children and the elderly.

So this led to hospitals tightening certain age groups from visiting.

"Box of Kleenex" by Flickr User m01229 / (CC X 2.0)

Cases of influenza are spiking nationwide and across the state as public health officials urge that it's not too late to get a flu shot.

Hospitals across Illinois counties are seeing more people coming in with flu-like symptoms and testing positive for the illness. 

Common symptoms include a fever of 100 degrees or higher, along with a cough and sore throat. 

National Influenza Vaccination Week Begins

Dec 6, 2016
NIH

The CDC is promoting National Influenza Vaccination Week.

Dr. Jennifer Layden, Chief Medical Officer of the Illinois Department of Public Health, says it’s time for state residents to get the flu shot if they haven’t already.  

"Because it takes a couple weeks to become fully effective and the peak of the flu season starts to occur sometime typically between December and February, we encourage individuals to get it as soon as possible," she said.  

"Syringe and Vaccine" by Flickr User NIAID / (CC X 2.0)

The less painful way to fight influenza may not be the best option this year.

The flu vaccine shot's effectiveness was around 60 percent last year. Illinois health officials are questioning how well the nasal spray alternative worked.

So they recommend people stick with the vaccine shot this season, which is updated to match circulating viruses.

Melaney Arnold, with the Illinois Department of Public Health, says the flu has symptoms similar to the common cold.

Winnebago County Sees Flu Increase

Nov 28, 2014
CDC

The Winnebago County Health Department reported an increase in flu cases in the past week. It expects further increases in the coming weeks. 

The department tracks flu-like illness using emergency room data from two health systems and three local sentinel sites. Flu poses the most serious risk to children under 5 years, people 65 and older, pregnant women, and those with certain long-term medical conditions.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent getting influenza.

Minnesota Department of Public Health

The flu season is raging in Illinois. Twenty-seven Illinoisans have died so far and 368 have been admitted to hospital intensive care units.