Flu Cases on the Rise in Northwest Illinois

FREEPORT (WIFR) -- It’s shaping up to be a nasty flu season, but it’s not too late to take steps to minimize the risk of catching seasonal influenza.

“The best thing you can do to prevent catching the flu is to get immunized,” said FHN Infectious Disease Specialist and Vice President of Medical Affairs Robert Geller, MD, MS, FACP, FIDSA. “It’s not too late; you can call your healthcare provider’s office to make an appointment, go to one of the daily walk-in clinics at the Stephenson County Health Department or simply get a shot at one of the many retail locations offering flu shots this year.”

As of Jan. 8, none of the people age 78 and under who had been treated for the flu at FHN Memorial Hospital had been vaccinated. (Seniors over age 78 have been treated for flu; they are not included in this number.)

Geller also recommends residents take preventative action to avoid spreading germs – including frequent handwashing, covering your coughs and sneezes and staying home if you are ill.

“The flu is quite contagious,” Dr. Geller said. “Adults can infect others up to 7 days after becoming sick, and children can pass on the virus for even longer. If you don’t feel well, stay home, give your body the rest it needs and keep your germs at home.”

For help finding an FHN healthcare provider, call the Physician Referral line toll-free at 1-877-6000-FHN (1-877-600-0346) ext. 965 or visit www.fhn.org.

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