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Flu Season Upon Us

It's getting colder, and that means the flu is ready to strike.

"Each year, there are a great number of people in the United States and the world who become very ill or even die because of influenza," Jim Stone, the Director of the Sangamon County Department of Public Health said. "It's an upper respiratory illness that attacks people with chronic illnesses."

A few years ago, a new flu virus surfaced: H1N1. In 2009, the CDC estimated up to 6,000 deaths occurred because of H1N1. They say flu viruses are constantly changing, so it's not uncommon for new flu virus strains to appear.

"That's the reason why you have to be so diligent about this," Stone said.

And that's why health experts recommend a flu shot, especially if you are in one of these groups:
  • If you have a high risk of developing serious complications if you get the flu.
  • If you have medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
  • If you are younger than 5 and older than 65.
Lori Brooks is getting her flu shot at the Sangamon County Department of Public Health.

"It doesn't hurt," Brooks said. "It's fast and it's easy. I get it to stay healthy and keep myself well through the winter months."

The Sangamon County Department of Public health says they have already given more than 11,000 flu shots this year. They have plenty of vaccine.

If you don't want a shot, and are between the ages of 2 and 49, the Sangamon County Health Department has nasal vaccinations. For information on the seasonal flu immunization program at the health department, go here.