HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital and HSHS Medical Group have recently seen a significant rise in flu numbers. Last month, the health care providers at the HSHS facilities in the Decatur area saw 177 cases.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data, Illinois is among the states listed as having a high number of influenza-like illnesses reported. The dominant strains being seen by health care professionals include influenza A (H1N1), influenza A (H3N2) and influenza B.
“Although spring is right around the corner, flu season is not over,” said Dr. Samir Patel, a pediatrician with HSHS Medical Group. “You must continue to take precautions to protect yourself from the flu. Even though it is March, it is never too late to receive a flu shot if you have not already received one this season.”
The CDC also notes that if the flu is spreading, vaccination should continue, and that the vaccine takes about two weeks for protection to set in. It is important to note that vaccination not only protects the person receiving the vaccine, but it also helps prevent the spread of disease to those who are particularly most vulnerable to serious illnesses, such as infants, young children, the elderly and those with chronic conditions and weakened immune systems.
During the flu season, HSHS recommends hospital visitor guidelines to keep patients and visitors safe. As a reminder, please do not visit the hospital if you have a cold or any flu-like symptoms including fever or chills, sore throat, body or muscle aches, headache, cough or runny nose. The hospital also discourages visitors younger than 18 and recommends that only two people should visit a patient at any one time. If you do visit a patient, soap and hand sanitizers should be used when entering and leaving a patient’s room.