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Flu Cases Spike Locally, Nationwide

The McHenry County Health Department is encouraging everyone older than six months to get a flu shot.

Does it seem like everyone around you is sick these days? 

Or perhaps you have been under the weather for weeks. Well, you are not alone. The flu has hit McHenry County, and the nation, hard while most cases seem to be spiking much earlier than usual this year.

In the first week of January alone, 53 cases of the flu were reported in the county and since the end of December, there have been nine patients who required treatment in the intensive care unit of area hospitals, according to MCDH.

In December, 102 cases were reported throughout the entire month of December and 21 cases in November, according to a McHenry County Health Department press release

Several Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Patch Facebook users reported catching the flu in recent weeks. Many said the unpleasant symptoms have been hanging on for, what seems to be, longer than normal

"Ive had it for five days, my son has it and many children I know have the stomach flu," said Adrienne Dumser on the Algonquin-LITH Patch Facebook page. "Both are hanging on an extended time."

The nation has also been hit hard by the flu virus. Google Flu Trends show intense activity through much of the nation and the CDC reports influenza activity is high in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Public Health shows widespread flu activity including reports at nine long-term care facilities.

In addition, there has been an increase in many other viruses that show similar symptoms to the flu.

A new norovirus, or "stomach flu," has been affecting many, according to the Huffington Post. Many of the viruses are hard to decipher from the flu, or even a cold, as many do not undergo lab tests, according to the article. 

MCDH: Get A Flu Shot

Due to the increase in flu activity, the McHenry County Health Department is encouraging everyone older than six months to get a flu shot. The flu vaccine is readily available at physician offices, clinics, retail pharmacies, grocery stores and other locations throughout McHenry County, according to the MCDH news release. 

"(The) flu can make anyone, including the healthiest, seriously ill," according to the MCDH press release. "It’s not too late to get vaccinated to protect you and your family against influenza."

Here are some other tips from the MCDH on how to stay safe during flu season: 

  • Consult with your physician if symptoms (which can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue) are worsening. 
  • Even if you don’t develop symptoms yourself, you can still pass the virus on to others like pregnant women, young children, those with chronic health conditions (like asthma, diabetes, heart disease) and people 65 and older who are especially at risk for complications from the flu. 
  •  Once vaccinated, it takes 2 weeks for antibodies to develop to provide protection.
  •  Practice the 3 C’s – clean your hands, cover your cough and contain your germs by staying home when sick.  

How has the flu, or a similar sickness, affected your family in the past couple weeks? If you have the flu, what are you doing to help get yourself, and your family, healthy? Let us know in the comments' section. 

Barb January 11, 2013 at 02:14 AM
Contrary to what this article states, the flu vaccine in NOT readily available! I've been told by my grandchilren's doctor that her office does not have any of the vaccine left. Same goes for Walgreens! Jewel will not administer the vaccine to children under the age of 12 years!
sharon January 11, 2013 at 02:27 AM
A couple of young people under 40 in my office have been very ill with that secondary bacterial infection and several different courses of antibiotics. Healthy people-very frightening!
gplushkis January 11, 2013 at 07:13 AM
Osco is now giving vaccines to 10 and over. Also Mchenry county health department does vaccines for younger kids
Scott Vander Weit January 11, 2013 at 01:11 PM
There have been a record number of vaccines given this year, and there has been a record number of flu cases? "The vaccines that are available this year are a fairly good match to the strains of the flu that are circulating". CDC spokesman Tom Skinner. Coincidence???

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