IDPH reports widespread flu activity; 6 deaths

By WEEK Producer

January 8, 2014 Updated Jan 8, 2014 at 11:42 PM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Public Health is urging residents who have not received a flu shot to get vaccinated now.

The Health Department is reporting widespread flu activity across the state. So far this season 122 people have been hospitalized in the Intensive Care Unit due to the flu and 6 people have died. That number is expected to increase.

Doctors at UnityPoint Health-Methodist Hospital in Peoria say the influx of people with flu-like symptoms is common for this time of year.

"I will say the ones that have gotten a positive influenza swab have not gotten the flu shot for whatever reason," said Dr. Aaron Farber with Unity Point Methodist Hospital. "It's working, the right strains are working for people that get the shots."

Those at high risk for serious flu complications include people with underlying chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease; pregnant women; those younger than 5 years old or older than 65 years old and anyone with a weakened immune system.

Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

In addition to getting a flu vaccine, you can reduce your risk of getting the flu by practicing the 3 C’s:

- Clean: properly wash your hands frequently
- Cover: cover your cough and sneeze
- Contain: contain your germs by staying home if you are sick

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