Flu activity on the rise in Chicago, city urges vaccination

Thu. January 9, 2014 11:56 AM

Chicago, IL - The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) is recommending Chicagoans get an annual flu vaccination as flu activity has increased in Chicago over the last couple of weeks.

"Flu season is here but it isn't too late to get a flu shot," said Dr. Julie Morita, CDPH Medical Director for the Immunization Program. "All influenza vaccines available this year including the nasal spray will provide protection against the influenza A strain causing the majority of disease."

According to CDPH, the majority of the 23 flu-associated ICU hospitalizations reported from Dec. 29, 2013 to Jan. 4, 2014, were due to the influenza A (2009 H1N1) virus, which has circulated worldwide as a seasonal flu virus since the flu pandemic in 2009.

"The flu is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death," Dr. Morita continued. "Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. Getting vaccinated is safe and is the best and most effective way to avoid the flu."

People with influenza-like illness who are at high risk for complications should seek care promptly to determine if treatment with influenza antiviral medications is warranted. This includes people with chronic underlying diseases.

Chicagoans should ask their health care provider about vaccine availability. Residents without a health care provider or whose health care provider does not have the influenza vaccine can call 311 or go to www.chicagoflushots.org to locate the closest City of Chicago clinic or retail pharmacy.

Additional flu prevention tips and more information on the flu in Chicago are available online at www.CityofChicago.org/FLU

From a news release