An increase in the number of people seeking emergency room treatment, and in reported school absences, for exhibiting flu-like symptoms caused the Cook County Health Department to issue a reminder to residents Tuesday to get flu shots.
Dr. Terry Mason, chief operating officer at the Cook County Department of Public Health, said the department recorded a 32 percent increase in people seeking emergency room treatment for flu symptoms in the week before the reminder was issued.
Mason recommended that everyone 6 months of age or older get flu shots and urged people to stay home when they are sick. Furthermore, people with flu-like symptoms should stay home an additional 24 hours after a fever is gone – without the use of fever reducing medicine – to help curb the spread of the disease.
The viruses that cause the flu affect the respiratory system and are easily spread, Mason said. The virus is spread primarily when a person coughs or sneezes. The public heath department recommends sticking to the three Cs: Clean your hands by washing regularly, cover your face when you cough or sneeze and contain yourself at home if you are feeling sick