Local flu levels low, expected to rise

Local News

CENTRAL ILLINOIS — Flu season is here, but the number of reported flu cases in central Illinois is low.

In Peoria and Tazewell counties, there have been 33 confirmed cases so far this flu season. In the week of November 24, there were eight positive cases.

But, leaders at the health department say those numbers won’t stay low for long.

“Flu season has started, we’re tracking the numbers in our area, but right now, they’re starting to tick up a little bit, it’s not a huge jump, it hasn’t been real severe yet, but we are expecting the flu to be a little bit worse than last year,” said Sara Sparkman, the communications manager for Tazewell County Health Department.

A CDC map shows that Illinois is reporting low flu levels, but many states are red, reporting high levels.

And the holiday season could increase flu risk. Traveling and interacting with more germs can cause flu levels to rise.

“With the holidays and more gatherings and more social activities, this would be a perfect time to get your flu shot, before you start the holidays,” said Sparkman.

Sparkman also says it’s important to wash your hands often, cover your mouth if you cough or sneeze, and if you start to feel under the weather, stay home.

It’s recommended that people get their flu shot in September and October, but it’s not too late.

If you get the flu shot now, building immunity takes two weeks, taking effect right around the holidays.

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