The member agencies of the Northern Illinois Public Health Consortium are advising residents that seasonal flu activity has increased sharply in recent weeks.
The evidence is confirmed in Kane County’s most-recent flu-surveillance report.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that influenza-like-illness activity is widespread across most of the country, including Illinois. CDC’s latest surveillance data shows current ILI activity is similar to what was seen during the peak of the 2014-2015 season; the most severe in recent years.
The county’s most-recent Flu Surveillance summary is for Week 52 of 2017, but the charts and graphs clearly show the spike. As you can see by the chart at the top of this article, 9.2 percent of ER visits were attributed to flu-related symptoms.
Equal Opportunity Influenza
According to the report, the flu is hitting every age group, almost equally, although more than 50 percent of emergency room visits were from people age 24 or under.
Of the Week 52 ILI visits to the ER, 28.7 percent were for children age 4 or under, 28.7 percent for young people ages 5 to 24, 29.8 percent for adults ages 25 to 64 and 12.8 percent for seniors ages 65 and over.
Seasonal influenza, or flu, is a contagious respiratory virus that can cause mild to severe illness. Symptoms of the flu virus include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. Flu is spread primarily when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Best Advice: Get a Flu Shot
Getting a flu shot is still the No. 1 defense against the flu, experts say. And it’s not too late to get one.
“The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated,” said Dr. Terry Mason, NIPHC president and chief operating officer of the Cook County Department of Public Health.
“We know the best way to protect yourself and your family from getting sick is by getting the flu shot. The vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and tens of thousands of hospitalizations every year, and can lessen the severity of symptoms.”
In addition to getting the flu shot, follow these simple steps to help prevent the spread of the flu:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
About The NIPHC
NIPHC is a point of collaboration and exchange of information for local health departments in the northern Illinois region to promote health, prevent disease and protect communities. The consortium also works to raise public awareness, build constituencies and shape legislation and policies that affect public health in the region. For more information, visit http://www.niphc.org/ or the Illinois Pandemic Flu page.
- Kane County Health Department Offers Walk-In Flu Shots
- IDPH: Get a Flu Shot ASAP; Don’t Use The Nasal Spray Vaccine
- CDC: Flu Activity on the Rise And Can Be Deadly
- CDC, Kane Health Department: Flu Season Getting Worse Fast