Flu widespread in Illinois; 6 deaths this season - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Flu widespread in Illinois; 6 deaths this season

Posted: Updated:
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Associated Press) -

Health officials are expecting an increase in flu-related hospitalizations and deaths in Illinois with cases now reported widely.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Wednesday that flu activity is now widespread, meaning the virus is showing up in at least half the state.

Health department director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck says it's not too late to get a flu shot. So far this season, 122 people have been admitted to Illinois hospital influenza intensive care units with the flu. There have been six deaths.

Unfortunately, there's now also a shortage of liquid tamiflu.

It's one of the leading medicines used to treat the virus for children and those who have trouble swallowing.

A spokeswoman says a brief shortage of the medicine is expected through mid-January.

It is used to reduce the severity of the flu as the first symptoms begin.

If tamiflu is unavailable in an area during the shortage, pharmacists can mix it into an oral capsule.

The most common flu strain this season is H1N1. Health experts say that strain seems to hit younger adults and children harder than adults older than 65. Some who have been severely ill with complications this year have been younger people with no underlying health problems.

FOX 32 News contributed to this report.

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