Flu season has peaked in Illinois to a level not seen in at least six years, and has peaked earlier than any other flu season except in 2009-10, according to Google.org’s Flu Trends, which boasts that it uses aggregated Google search data to estimate flu activity.
Flu Trends shows the intensity level of flu activity at this time is the highest seen in at least six years. The aggregator also shows that in the same six-year period, flu activity typically has peaked in February and March, not in early January, as it happening this season. Only in 2009-10, when swine flu swept the nation, did flu activity peak earlier — in October — over the past six years.
Health officials encourage those with flu-like symptoms to stay home to avoid infecting others. Flu symptoms, which can be mild or severe, include:
- Fever (not everyone will experience it) or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (very tired)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
People who experience one or more of these symptoms for several days should contact their physician.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has it’s Take 3 Actions page, which advises getting vaccinated, taking everyday prevenative steps to avoid spreading the virus, and take the antiviral medications your doctor may prescribe if you contract the flu.
Contributing: Amanda Luevano
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