The New Year is off to a rough start as the flu virus continues to spread its way across the United States. In Illinois — Glen Ellyn included — as in most parts of the country, flu cases are at an all time high.
The American Lung Association is strongly recommending people protect themselves, making sure to get a flu vaccine and taking preventative actions to stop the spread of germs. It is also recommending that those who get severely ill, particularly those who are part of high-risk groups, promptly seek antiviral treatments.
“We can’t emphasize enough how important it is and how easy it is to provide your family with as much protection as possible by getting vaccinated against the flu,” said Harold Wimmer, President and CEO of the American Lung Association in Illinois in a news release. “Immunization is especially important for those at higher risk – young children, pregnant women, those who are 50 years of age or older, people with certain chronic medical conditions including asthma, COPD and heart disease and healthcare workers and caregivers who are in close contact with those at high risk.”
The American Lung Association also encourages everyone to take preventive action to help prevent the spread of the disease, including:
- Cover nose and mouth with tissue when sneezing or coughing and throw away the tissue after use.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, where germs spread easily.
- Wash hands often with soap and water.
- If you’re feeling sick, stay home from work, school and public places, so you don’t infect others.
Influenza, better known as the flu, is a highly contagious upper respiratory illness that can include some or all of the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, diarrhea and vomiting.
Most people who contract the flu experience mild cases, but if symptoms seem severe or if you are a member of a high-risk group, the American Lung Association suggests visiting a health care provider to determine whether flu treatment is needed.
The following are warning signs that influenza has worsened and medical attention is needed.
- Fast breathing or trouble breathing
- Bluish skin color
- Not drinking enough fluids
- Not waking up or not interacting
- Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
- Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
- Fever with a rash
In addition to the signs above, get medical help right away for any infant who has any of these signs:
- Being unable to eat
- Has trouble breathing
- Has no tears when crying
- Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
To find where to get a flu shot in and around Glen Ellyn, check out:
- Flu Vaccine Finder
- Flu Shots at Jewel-Osco
- Flu Shots at Dominick's
- Flu Shots at Walgreens
- Flu Shots at CVS
Find out more about influenza at www.facesofinfluenza.org or call the American Lung Association Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNG-USA to find out where you can get immunized against the flu.