JACKSONVILLE – Illinois is experiencing a severe flu season, with many people experiencing flu-like symptoms throughout Illinois, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
For the safety of patients and their families, Memorial Health System is recommending visitors to its four hospitals – Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Lincoln, Passavant Area Hospital in Jacksonville and Taylorville Memorial Hospital – help prevent the spread of respiratory infections by requesting that:
- Inpatient hospital visits be limited to two visitors per patient at one time
- All visitors be 18 or older and show no signs of illness
The health system also encourages those accompanying outpatients at Memorial facilities to consider these same recommendations.
“Passavant Area Hospital is currently not experiencing a high rate of hospitalizations due to influenza,” Erica Hunt, infection prevention and control manager for Passavant Area Hospital, said. “People who are ill shouldn’t visit someone in the hospital. This is true any time of year, but especially during flu season. And if you haven’t received your flu shot, it’s important to take the time to get the shot and protect yourself from the flu.”
Seasonal flu activity usually peaks in January and February, beginning as early as October and ending as late as May, according to the CDC website. As many as 20 percent of all Americans get the flu each year.
To prevent spread of the flu, the CDC recommends individuals take precautions to avoid spreading germs, such as washing your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water, covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough, and getting your annual flu vaccination (available to those 6 months and older).
Most people who get the flu recover completely in one to two weeks, but some people develop serious and potentially life-threatening medical complications, such as pneumonia, according to the IDPH. Over the past decade, influenza and pneumonia have been associated with an average of 3,500 deaths a year in Illinois.
For additional information about the flu, including symptoms and prevention, visit the CDC website, CDC.gov. More information about the flu can be found on Memorial’s Live Well blog, LiveWellMagazine.org, including frequently asked questions.