Flu cases up in the Heartland

Flu cases up in the Heartland

(KFVS) - Flu cases are up around the Heartland.

We talked to several hospitals in Missouri and Illinois on Wednesday, February 8 who say they've seen an increase in cases over the past two weeks.

Also, two Heartland school districts have called off classes for the rest of the week because of flu outbreaks.

At Twin Rivers School District alone, about 140 kids were out sick on Wednesday.

A nurse at Southeast Health said illnesses spread quickly around kids, so it's best to play it safe if you think they don't feel well.

"With children, they tend to be social creatures and got to school and if you child is sick, you need to keep them at home," Carol Jordan, with infection prevention at Southeast Health, said. "That will decrease the spread of infection and the spread of the influenza virus to other classmates. So one of the prevention things is, if you're sick, stay home."

Jordan said most of the time the flu will resolve on its own within two weeks, but there are times when you can have some serious complications like bronchitis, ear infections and pneumonia.

She recommended seeing a doctor if it doesn't seem like the symptoms are resolving or if they get worse.

From the beginning of flu season, Emily Blattel with Saint Francis Medical Center said they have had 88 patients test positive for influenza. Of those, 12 were admitted. These numbers date back to their first case on Dec. 11, 2016.

According to the infection prevention nurse, the numbers began increasing last week.

Three southern Illinois hospitals are reporting their influenza numbers as well.

According to Rosslind Rice, SIH Communications Coordinator, they have had 197 positive flu patients since Jan. 1, 2017.

The cases have also recently increased in the last several weeks.

All three hospitals we talked to are part of Southern Illinois Healthcare. They include: Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, Herrin Hospital and St. Joseph Memorial Hospital in Murphysboro.

There is still time to get the flu vaccine but there are other ways to help prevent sickness.

The Centers for Disease Control has a list that includes avoiding close contact, washing your hands and staying home when you are sick.

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