Hospitals in the Chicago Area Seeing an Uptick in Influenza Cases

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According to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago-area hospitals have been seeing an uptick in the number of flu cases this year — and it likely hasn?t peaked yet.

Although many people see influenza as an annoying but routine part of the winter, for many high-risk groups this common contagion can be life-threatening, and even deadly. Very young children, older people, and individuals with compromised immune systems are all high risk groups. Common symptoms can include but aren?t limited to vomiting, fever, and fatigue.

Finding a Hospital During Influenza Season

In past years, Chicago?s flu season has always peaked in January. This year, though, experts are predicting that it won?t be until March that the final hump of patients visiting the hospital finally filter through. Although the reason for this isn?t quite clear, officials suspect it may have something to do with the unusually mild temperatures that took place this past winter.

Several hospitals in the region have put precautions in place to help prevent influenza?s further spread. One hospital banned sick people from visiting patients; another hospital is screening all patients for flu symptoms. ?We are seeing patients in the 30-to-50 age group all the way from pediatrics to the elderly. The fact the flu is affecting all age groups prompted us to this call for action,” noted Laura Marconnet, who is the infection control manager at Presence Medical Center, located 40 miles west of Chicago.

Treatment is Key to Avoiding Dire Problems

Finding a hospital during flu season is important. Although there is typically no ?cure? for the virus — only treamtent of symptoms — treatment can be important for those who are experiencing severe reactions, or for those individuals who are already at high risk. A hospital can ensure that a patient?s body stays hydrated, for example.

If you?re trying to find a doctor in your local region to treat the flu, your best bet is finding a physician that has a general practice. These doctors will have typical open hours and can help you with everything from flu symptoms, to flu shots, to outpatient services. It’s important to note that in the future, preventative medicine in the form of vaccines is key for avoiding the flu.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, influenza kills an incredible 36,000 people a year in the U.S. alone. Don’t put off visiting a hospital because “it’s just the flu.”

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