WIFR TV: Mercyhealth Sees Spike in Flu Cases in Winnebago County

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) — A recent spike in flu cases has the health department focusing on prevention.

“When it hits you, it hits you very hard and very quick,” says Dr. Jason Bredenkamp, emergency medicine physician at Mercyhealth Hospital-Rockton Avenue.

With the flu season in full effect, a lot of people have been experiencing the quick, hard hits, keeping Dr. Bredenkamp busy.

“We are right in the middle of influenza season; we’re still seeing an uptick in cases. We’re seeing several cases a day here,” said Dr. Bredenkamp.

The Winnebago County Health Department says a jump from 69 to 254 flu cases within a week made them realize that prevention should take priority over treatments.

“It isn’t a gradual climb; it kind of did a big step. So again, it’s what can we do to prevent that spread,” said Todd Kisner from the Winnebago County Health Department.

All three area hospitals have adopted an age restriction for visitors. While some are upset about the policy, others see why it’s important.

‘I understand, I wouldn’t want them to get sick or have to be here 24/7,” said Michael Martin, who was visiting the MercyHealth Hospital with his two daughters.

Some symptoms of the flu include high fever, headache, sore throat, muscle aches and fatigue. If you haven’t had any of these yet, experts say be cautious because there are another 4-6 weeks of flu season.

“Influenza spreads rapidly amongst people, especially when people are in enclosed areas,” added Dr. Bredenkamp.

The health department recommends everyone gets flu shots but there are other simple prevention methods. They call these the Three C’s: clean your hands, cover your cough, and contain your germs.

Dr. Bredenkamp said, “Influenza does not discriminate, it attacks all of us.”

Health experts say in addition to getting a flu shot, avoid crowded areas as much as possible to lower your chances of catching the flu.

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