More flu seen, city urges shots

A sailor receives a flu shot on the USS Kitty Hawk. (Wikipedia photo)

The City of Evanston Health & Human Services Department is advising community members that seasonal flu activity has increased across Cook County in recent weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that influenza-like activity is widespread across most of the country, including Illinois. The CDC’s latest surveillance data shows that influenza-like-illness activity currently is similar to what was seen during the peak of the 2014-2015 season, which was the most severe season in recent years.

According to the CDC, the best way to protect yourself and your family from getting sick is by getting the flu shot. It is recommended that everyone over the age of six months get vaccinated. The vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and tens of thousands of hospitalizations every year.

Flu activity usually peaks between December and February, though activity can last as late as May. As long as flu activity is ongoing, it's not too late to get vaccinated, even in January or later. Even those who've already gotten sick with flu this season are advised to get the flu vaccine. Community members can find locations where flu shots are available at vaccinefinder.org.

Due to concerns about how well the nasal spray vaccine has worked during previous flu seasons, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is recommending that people stick to getting a flu shot and skip the nasal spray.

To reduce the spread of influenza and other illnesses this winter, the Health & Human Services Department reminds residents to practice the 3 C's:

  • Clean - Properly wash your hands frequently
  • Cover - Cover your cough and sneeze
  • Contain - Contain your germs by staying home if you are sick

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