With rising number of cases, health workers urge getting flu shot soon
BY ERIKA WURST email@example.com December 20, 2012 3:18PM
Med Tech II Char Conant checks the information on patient sample before loading a Nanosphere machine for testing at Edward Hospital in Naperville, IL on Thursday, December 20, 2012 | Sean King~For Sun-Times Media
Vaccine plentiful, easy to find
The Centers for Disease Control says there is an ample supply of flu vaccine this season throughout the United States.
Flu shots are available at many local pharmacies and your physician’s office. Flu shots also are available through one of the Federally Qualified Health Centers in Kane County. To find a location, people can check the Kane County Health Department website, at kanehealth.com/flu_shots.htm.
The Health Department note that people at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
Updated: January 22, 2013 6:26AM
Consider this your warning. If you haven’t gotten that flu shot yet, now would be a perfect time.
Cases of the flu around the Fox Valley and in northern Illinois are on the rise, and the numbers are higher than ever — and earlier than ever, according to local medical professionals.
At Edward Hospital in Naperville, where Mary Anderson heads the Infectious Disease Control Department, 129 people have already been confirmed to have the virus since the season started in late-October.
“Flu season came very early this year,” she said. “I’ve worked in hospitals for more than 25 years, and I can’t recall a year where the flu season hit this hard and this early.
“What we’re seeing this year is 10 to 20 times what we would typically see by mid-December,” Anderson said. “Many years, we have no cases until after the New Year.”
The early start comes at an ill opportune time. People who should be staying at home sick are heading out to holiday parties, jobs and shopping malls, with their virus in tow.
“This is a terrible time of year for it to be flu season,” Anderson said. “There’s so much opportunity for transmission right now. It’s a little scary.”
But, getting vaccinated will certainly help, she said.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that, except for those with a severe allergic reaction to eggs or the influenza vaccine, those 6 months and older should be vaccinated annually. Anderson said that the local H3N2 strain is well matched to the vaccine, keeping those who get their shot from being inoculated.
“Vaccines do not guarantee protection,” Anderson said, but they are the most important means of preventing influenza.
“Lots of people have never gotten the vaccine, they think they don’t need it. They think if they’re healthy, the flu won’t hit them. But, the flu can effect everyone,” Anderson stressed.
Proof of this can be seen at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora, where 153 people were tested for the flu in the last week alone. According to hospital officials, 73 of those tests came back positive.
The reality of these number is likely much higher than what’s being reported, Anderson noted.
“For every person sick enough to go to the doctor to get tested, many more are just staying home,” she said.
Anderson stressed the importance of vaccination to those who will be dealing with very young, or elderly people.