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Flu cases, hospitalizations are on the rise

Flu virus
National Foundation for Infectious Diseases

It's turning out to be a bad flu season. Memorial Health reports it is seeing a dramatic increase at its five area hospitals, following national trends.

“This year’s strains of influenza are proving to be highly contagious,” said Raj Govindaiah, MD, Memorial Health senior vice president and chief physician executive. “We don’t like to see this kind of increase this early in the flu season. We strongly encourage people to be proactive about protecting themselves and others from contracting the flu right now. People who are young, elderly and immunocompromised are especially at risk for dangerous complications.”

The hospitals collectively have seen 104 patients hospitalized with influenza, compared to four at this time last year.

Govindaiah urges people to take action now to help curb the spread of respiratory illness: schedule flu vaccinations immediately; wash hands regularly; avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth; wear a mask around large groups of people and stay home when feeling ill. Flu symptoms include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, muscle aches and fatigue.

“It’s not too late to vaccinate,” said Govindaiah. “If you haven’t gotten your flu shot, there’s still time. Getting your shot this month offers protection for the majority of the flu season.”

For additional information about influenza trends and details about symptoms and prevention, visit the CDC website at CDC.gov.

Numbers of cases and hospitalizations at Memorial inpatient and ambulatory sites of care:

Decatur area: 1,017 cases, 18 hospitalizations.

Lincoln area: 228 cases, 5 hospitalizations.

Jacksonville area: 170 cases, 6 hospitalizations.

Springfield area: 2,391 cases, 69 hospitalizations.

Taylorville area: 101 cases, 6 hospitalizations.

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