Flu Season Hits Hard

Illinois' flu season is not getting any lighter. The latest report from the state shows a large number of outbreaks among senior citizens and in the Metro East. 

The latest flu report from the Illinois Department of Public Health for the last week of 2017 shows a large jump in the number of flu cases across the state. 

Illinois doesn't track flu cases, just hospitalization. The IDPH reports 130 new people went to the emergency room with the flu, and there were 37 new outbreaks in the last week of 2017. 

So far this season, almost 350 people have gone to the ER in Illinois because of the flu. 

People older than 65 are the most vulnerable, and the Metro East leads the state in the number of flu outbreaks. 

Marsha Wild is the director of infectious diseases with the St. Clair County Health Department, she said they're seeing a lot of cases in nursing homes, care centers, and even the jail. 

"Anytime that you get people close together, living together," Wild said. "You can see how the flu can spread quickly."

Wild said that's one reason why a number of local hospitals are limiting visitors.

"We're particularly concerned about people who are immune compromised," Wild said. "People who are ill already, or they may have other health issues that suppresses their immune system, that makes them more susceptible."

Both Wild and the state's Department of Public Health say a flu shot can still help you avoid the flu or just limit its severity. 

Peak flu season doesn't usually hit until late January or early February.