We sat down with Dr. Jignesh Modi, HSHS Medical Group infectious disease physician at HSHS St. Mary's Hospital to discuss the flu.

Q. What is the flu?

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. 

Q. What can we do to avoid the spread of the illness?

We recommend the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands.

  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue.

  • Stay home if you are sick.

  • Avoid sharing objects such as cups and utensils when you are sick.

  • Stay active.

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.

  • Drink plenty of water.

  • Get enough sleep.

  • Flu vaccine

Getting an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu.

Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.

The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from flu, including older people, very young children, pregnant women, and people with certain long-term health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications.

Q. What if I am visiting a relative in the hospital during flu season?

During flu season, The Illinois Department of Public Health and HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital recommend the following visiting guidelines:

  • DO NOT visit hospital patients 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.

    • Are under age 18 years of age.

    • Are a pregnant woman.

    • A limit of only two people should visit a patient at any one time.

Soap and water or hand sanitizers are the most effective ways to prevent influenza transmission and should be used when entering and exiting patient rooms.

Media Contact

Andrew Dilbeck

HSHS Illinois
Office: 217-464-5610

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