Flu Cases Rising Rapidly: How to Protect Yourself

If you are currently suffering from body aches, chills, fever and other flu symptoms, you are not alone. Influenza continues to increase at a rapid rate throughout Illinois and the nation. Central Illinois is no exception.

Flu symptoms include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, muscle aches and fatigue.

Memorial Health is seeing a dramatic increase in influenza cases at its five area hospitals in Decatur, Lincoln, Jacksonville, Springfield and Taylorville, which parallels state and 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. Dr. Govindaiah urges people to take action now to help curb the spread of respiratory illness:

  • Schedule flu vaccinations immediately. Memorial offers drive-thru vaccinations that can be scheduled at mhsil.com. Or find other community vaccination locations at vaccines.gov.
  • Wash hands regularly.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Wear a mask around large groups of people.
  • Stay home when feeling ill.

“It’s not too late to vaccinate,” said Dr. 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.”

If you have flu symptoms, call your primary care provider who will evaluate your symptoms and decide whether you need to come in for treatment or a test.

Too sick to leave your home? Memorial offers two-way telehealth video appointments. The best time to make a virtual appointment is first thing in the morning. Learn more at mymemorialapp.com.

Want to see a provider in person? Visit the Memorial App to check available appointments or call your provider directly. Don’t have a healthcare provider? Visit Memorial Care to view providers in our 16-county area who are accepting new patients.

For a medical emergency, please call 911 or visit any Memorial hospital emergency room.

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