Flu hits Illinois hard during 2012-2013 season

By WEEK Producer

January 9, 2013 Updated Jan 9, 2013 at 9:16 PM CDT





SPRINGFIELD, lll. -- Health officials are reporting a high levels of influenza in Illinois.

Within a two month period, officials say almost 150 people were admitted to the hospital intensive care units with influenza like illnesses and at least six reported deaths.

In Chicago, emergency rooms are so overcrowded with flu patients that ambulances carrying patients are being diverted to other hospitals.

Experts at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention say flu season is hitting hard this year, and we have yet to reach the peak.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck the vaccine is a good match for the circulating flu strain, and that it is not too late to get a flu shot.

"The flu season normally runs through March and sometimes later.  If you do get the flu, the vaccine can also reduce the amount of time you’re sick and the severity of symptoms.  By getting vaccinated, you can also help protect infants, the elderly and those with chronic diseases who are at greatest risk for complications due to the flu," said Dr. Hasbrouck.

Other ways to reduce your chances of catching the contagious disease are by practicing the three C's:

* Clean

* Cover

* Contain

Flu season normally runs through March.