Flu shots are still available in McLean County. (Photo By Flickr user USACE Europe District)
By Paul Morello
BLOOMINGTON - It has been a busy flu season in Illinois, and McLean County is no exception.
The McLean County Health Department said Tuesday there have been five ICU cases of the flu and one death in the county so far.
Department spokeswoman Kera Simon said last year there was only one ICU case and no deaths. She said one of the best ways to avoid the flu is to just wash your hands.
"Before and after you eat, after you go to the restroom, after you come home from high-traffic areas like grocery shopping or the mall. As soon as you walk in the door it's a good idea to wash your hands," Simon said.
State health officials said about 150 people have been admitted to ICUs with the flu in Illinois and five have died.
But, Dr. Aaron Traeger, a pediatrician with Advocate BroMenn Medical Group, is hesitant to call the increase an outbreak.
"Right now, everyone should be alert. You really should make sure that if someone's sick, stay away from them. If someone else is sick, keep your kids away from their kids and if you're sick, stay away from everybody," he said.
Traeger said he has been seeing an above average number of children with flu-like symptoms.
"The winter is normally busy for pediatricians, but sick visits that we're seeing with people that we suspect have the flu is pretty high," he said. "Recently I personally saw seven or eight people, about a third of my schedule, with people who looked like they had the flu."
Flu season peaks in about two weeks, but Traeger said it's never too late to get vaccinated.
Paul Morello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.