Chicago Hit Hard by Flu, Still Time to Get Your Shot
If you put off getting that flu shot this year, procrastinate no more.
Chicago has been hit hard early this year with reports of several school closings and flooded hospital emergency rooms.
According to the Cook County Department of Public Health, in the last three weeks alone over two dozen area schools have reported large amounts of students sick with the flu. Nazareth Academy in La Grange Park even closed its doors earlier this week while workers sanitized the building.
“We have seen a 32 percent increase in the last week in people seeking care for (influenza-like illness) in emergency departments and a higher number or school reporting increases in absenteeism in schools due to ILI in the past two weeks,” says Dr. Terry Mason, Cook County Department of Public Health’s chief operating officer.
Illinois is one of six states where the flu is more wide spread than in previous years, according to the Centers for Disease Control. While no deaths have been reported in Illinois so far, according to reports, some Chicago area hospitals are banning visitors under the age of 18 to help prevent the spread of the virus.
The CDC has warned that this year’s flu shot may not be as effective at guarding against the virus as in year’s past, but health officials still urge people to receive the shot from their family doctor, pediatrician, pharmacy, health clinic or public health department. With heart of the flu season in January and February, there is still time.
“Previous flu seasons have shown the number of people being vaccinated drops quickly after November, but this is typically when we start seeing increased flu activity, which we currently are. If you haven’t received your flu vaccine, it’s not too late,” says Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health “Know that you have taken the single best preventive measure to help protect yourself and your loved ones this holiday season by getting vaccinated.”
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