CHICAGO (CBS) — The amount of flu cases is rolling across the county, with doctors seeing as many as 14,000 new cases a week — and they say they may know what’s to blame.
Johanna Flynn, a mother of two kids with runny noses and fevers, said it’s been a long couple of weeks.
It’s also been a long couple of weeks at Child & Adolescent Health, as they have been dealing with the spike in flu cases.
“Every year it kind of spikes around this time, but certainly a little bit higher than expected this time of year,” said Dr. Allison Foster.
Kids with fevers, coughs, runny nose and body aches are filling the waiting room.
“Oh this is absolutely the prime time,” added Dr. Foster.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the virus has become “widespread” in 43 states — Illinois among them.
So far this season, 20 children have reportedly died from the virus. In Illinois, 43 people were admitted to intensive care units this past week.
“The flu can really have disastrous consequences,” Dr. Foster noted.
While the vaccine is a good match for this year’s virus, parents no longer have the flu mist option. And Dr. Foster fears that may have kept some parents away.
“That was not available this year because it was found to not be nearly as effective as the traditional flu shot,” Dr. Foster said. “So that certainly discouraged a certain number of patients from getting the flu vaccine this year.”
But she wants parents to know that it’s not too late to vaccinate.
“We’ve got plenty of flu season left, we have plenty of time to protect more kids.”
You can avoid spreading the virus by washing your hands often. Dr. Foster said that kids should wash their hands immediately after getting home from school.
But vaccination is the best way to avoid getting the flu.