Doctors say it’s not too late to get the flu shot and prevent infection

Experts say this years vaccine could better combat the virus going around.

January 9, 2013

(UIC Pharmacy/flickr)
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, from the beginning of October through the end of December of 2012 close to 150 people were admitted to intensive care units (ICU) with influenza like illness. That's compared to two people the year before.

Doctors say it’s not too late to avoid getting the flu that’s hitting Chicago hard.

Health officials say this early flu season could be one of the worst in years causing more hospitalizations and deaths in the state of Illinois. 

“It is not too late to be vaccinated," said a recent statement by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). "The flu season normally runs through March and sometimes later.”

But while some might be reluctant to get the flu shot, the one administered this year can pretty accurately combat the virus going around.

Rahul Khare is the Assistant Professor at the Department of Emergency Medicine at Northwestern University. He said, this year, the shot is about 60 percent effective.   

“That’s pretty good and if can imagine yourself in bed for four days with really high fevers, and compare that with being really healthy and going to work, to me it seems worth it,” Khare said.

According to Khare, people should spend more time doing outdoor activities instead of staying at home to avoid the illness.

“The thing that causes a spike in viruses in the winter is that we are inside a lot and the virus accumulates and it goes [from] person to person,” Khare said.  

In the mean time, experts advise that only people with severe respiratory illness and who have trouble breathing need to visit the emergency room. Others who experience fever and body aches should stay home and rest but call their doctor or schedule an appointment if symptoms worsen.