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As influenza surges in county, vaccinations urged

WOODSTOCK – Citing recent reports of increasing cases influenza and flu-related hospitalizations in the county and state, the McHenry County Department of Health encourages anyone 6 months and older to get a preventative flu shot.

Flu season typically runs through May, with activity peaking this month and into February. Flu vaccine is available at physician offices, clinics, retail pharmacies, grocery stores and other locations.

Since the end of December, the health department has received reports of nine people with flu hospitalized in intensive care units.

Local hospital emergency departments have seen a sharp increase in influenza-like illness, reporting 21 cases in November, 102 cases in December and 53 cases in the first week of January.

The Illinois Department of Public Health shows widespread flu cases, including at nine long-term care facilities.

Flu can make anyone, including the healthiest person, seriously ill. A doctor should be consulted if symptoms – which can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue – are worsening.

Even those who don’t develop symptoms can pass the virus to others, such as pregnant women, young children, those with chronic health conditions – such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease – and people 65 and older who are especially at risk for complications from the flu.

Once vaccinated, it takes two weeks for antibodies to develop and provide protection. Everyone should practice the three C’s – clean hands, cover coughs and contain germs by staying home when sick, the health department advised. 

For information, visit www.mcdh.info.

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