Flu season hits Southern Illinois hard - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Flu season hits Southern Illinois hard

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HARRISBURG -- In Southern Illinois the flu has hit people hard. Local hospitals have enforced visitor restrictions. News Three went to Harrisburg Medical Center and found out that for them, the month of January is already proving to be worse than December. 

If you haven't been sick yet this flu season, you probably know someone who has. Chief Nursing Officer, Leslie Ferrell, with Harrisburg Medical Center says they've had hundreds of people test positive for the flu. There are two types, Type A and Type B. Type A can be passed from animals to humans, while Type B is only from human to human.  

"The symptoms of both those mirror one another, but we also know that people who have Type A flu statistically are sicker than those with Type B," said Ferrell. 

This year the Harrisburg Medical Center has tested more than a thousand people for the flu.  In December they had 109 test positive for Type A and 44 test postive for Type B. 

So far in January, they've already had 173 test positive for Type A and 33 for Type B. Infection preventionist, Karen Niness, says that's a lot and people need to heed the warnings and listen to expert advice. 

"You need to stay home if you're sick. Wash your hands frequently and keep your hands away from your eyes nose and mouth," said Ninness. 

Ferell and Ninness explained that the flu vaccine isn't magic. The CDC makes an educated guess and creates the vaccine based on the prior year's strains. 

"We hope that scientists with the CDC will take what they've learned from this year's strains and put it into action for the vaccine for next year," said Ferrell. 

Because the flu, can lead to worse illnesses and even cause death. The common symptoms of this year's flu are high fever, dry cough, sore throat, runny nose and body aches. 

The Flu Season lasts for another 13 weeks.

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