Seasonal Flu Activity Mild for Now
Chances are this time last year, you or someone you know had already come down with the dreaded flu symptoms. The tired, achy, feel-like-you’ve-just-been-hit-by-a-train kind of feeling. This year, that’s probably not the case. While the standard cold viruses continue to circulate around central Illinois, flu activity is reasonably low.
But don’t celebrate just yet. We’re likely not escaping a regional flu outbreak, it’s just delayed.
“We’ve had a relatively mild winter so far,” said Rajesh Govindaiah, MD, Memorial’s chief medical officer. “And one of the ways flu spreads is everyone is inside with close contact.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, flu activity is low across the whole country with Illinois reporting only sporadic activity. Memorial Medical Center has seen several cases come through the Emergency Department, a handful serious enough to be hospitalized. With winter weather hitting our area hard recently, activity is expected to pick up.
“There is still time to prepare for flu season,” Dr. Govindaiah said. “They are simple, basic guidelines, but they do help prevent the spread of infection.”
- If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, talk to your healthcare provider.
- Wash your hands often. Make sure kids wash their hands at appropriate times and after playing in public areas.
- Stay home if you are sick. Don’t risk spreading the infection to others.
Remember, the flu is a serious illness. Complications from the virus kill thousands each season. Pregnant women, young children and the elderly are the most vulnerable. If you or a loved one comes down with the flu, seek medical attention. Prescription medications can be used to treat influenza and shorten the duration of the illness.
Find out more about the flu vaccine and other tips on how to keep your family healthy this flu season.