The first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu vaccine each year. Flu vaccine has been shown to reduce flu related illnesses and the risk of serious flu complications that can result in hospitalization or even death. CDC also recommends everyday preventive actions (like staying away from people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes, and frequent handwashing) to help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory (nose, throat, and lungs) illnesses, like flu.
Below are a few graphs showing a cluster of flu cases and hospitalizations around the months of November and December, which is typical “flu season” because people tend to find themselves indoor more frequently. There are notably more cases this fall compared to last fall.
In the U.S., most flu activity starts in October and ends in May. Peak flu season is typically between December and March. Comparing our current flu season to last year’s, there is a greater number of cases this season so far. The Oak Park Health Department continues to encourage flu vaccination and other behaviors to minimize the spread of the flu, including staying home when sick and frequent handwashing.
As illustrated in the graph above, this year’s flu cases have been more severe and resulted in an increase in hospitalizations. Taking the precautions listed above can help protect populations more vulnerable to severe cases that require hospitalization.