Flu outbreak in Illinois is one of the worst in the nation: CDC - FOX 32 News Chicago

Flu outbreak in Illinois is one of the worst in the nation: CDC

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Flu season is in full swing. The Centers for Disease Control said the Illinois outbreak is one of the worst in the nation.

Health officials' previous predictions of a bad season are coming true. Doctors at Good Samaritan Hospital in west suburban Downers Grove said flu season has peaked early.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the flu has been under widespread activity for at least two weeks now. Illinois is one of 16 states experiencing that high activity. They began to see sporadic activity around Thanksgiving.

Carly Christenson, 14, is in intensive care in Minnesota, fighting for her life, after contracting the virus.

"Well she's gravely ill and she's on a very supportive high tech piece of equipment to support her heart, her lungs, her kidneys, her body in every way possible," Patsy Stinchfield said. "She's a fighter, so she's fighting well."

Doctors at Children's Hospital in Saint Paul said 40 children have been admitted there so far this season with the flu.

A 17-year-old Texas boy has died at the same Minnesota hospital. He was visiting relatives in Wisconsin for Christmas, when he got sick and was hospitalized in Saint Paul.

Illinois had three flu death deaths in the week before Christmas.

State health officials said more than 5% of outpatient visits to the hospital are flu related, and that percentage is growing week-to-week.

The CDC wanted to remind the public how contagious the flu is. They said you can affect someone else before you even see symptoms develop - up to five to even seven days after becoming sick. Children may pass it on even longer. It could take about seven days after children start seeing those symptoms.

Doctors remind the public not to go to work if they start feeling flu symptoms like a fever, chills, not feeling well over all. Do not send your kids to school if they are feeling unwell. Leaving home while ill is a large contributing factor to the widespread nature of the flu this season.

Doctors are comparing the number of seriously ill flu patients to the 2009 Swine Flu epidemic.

For more information on how to prevent the flu for getting you, or how to get better if you already have it, visit our Cold and Flu section.

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