Increasing influenza-like illness activity in Suburban Cook County

Public Health officials recommend that you give the gift of health by adding a flu vaccine to your final shopping list this holiday season.                                                                  

Everyone six months of age and older should get an influenza, or flu, vaccine, every year. Vaccine is readily available at your local pharmacy, family doctor and grocery stores throughout suburban Cook County. While influenza is a health concern for people of all ages, young children, pregnant women, individuals with a weakened immune system and people aged 65 years and older are at a higher risk for complications from the flu.

“We are seeing an increase in influenza-like illness (ILI) in suburban Cook County as reported through our ILI surveillance in hospital emergency departments and absenteeism in schools,” said CCDPH interim chief operating officer Sandra Martell, RN, DNP. “Getting a flu vaccine is the best defense against the flu virus. It is equally important to help limit the spread of illness by staying home when you are ill, covering your cough and sneeze and washing your hands often.”

Influenza is a virus that affects the respiratory system and is spread primarily when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms of influenza can range from mild to life-threatening and include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. The 2012-2013 flu vaccine is a good match for the strains of influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season, influenza A (H1N1) virus, influenza A (H3N2) virus, and influenza B virus, which can make vaccination more effective.

To get a seasonal flu vaccine, residents in suburban Cook County should contact their family doctor or visit their local pharmacist. For more information about our current influenza surveillance, or to use the Flu Vaccine Finder, visit our website at

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