Flu activity builds in Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Public health officials say the flu is beginning to hit Illinois.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus is being seen on a regional basis throughout the state. That’s one step away from being widespread.

The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/19nn1oP ) doctors are busy treating patients who have the illness, along with those who have strep throat and pneumonia.

“We’ve been seeing a lot of people in general,” said Tess Bailey, who is a physician at Carle Convenient Care. “There’s a lot of illness going around.”

Flu activity typically begins building in the U.S. in December, although the peak typically isn’t seen until sometime between January and March.

“It’s not everywhere, but I can absolutely tell you it’s in our community,” said Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde.

Area hospitals have reported dozens of cases so far.

Public health officials say it’s not too late for people to get a flu shot, but they caution that the vaccine takes about two weeks to become effective.

They’re also recommending people take common-sense steps to say healthy, such as washing hands frequently and staying home from work if you’re sick.

Flu symptoms include fever, chills, body aches, fatigue, coughing, sore throats and a runny or a stuffy nose.

“If you are sick, stay home and keep it to yourself,” Bailey told the newspaper.

Last year, more than 600 people were admitted to Illinois intensive care units with the flu. At least 96 died.

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Information from: The News-Gazette, http://www.news-gazette.com

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