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.
"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.