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With influenza cases on the rise, health departments are reminding you to get your flu shot

With many people being admitted to the hospital due to the flu, health departments are urging you to get your flu shot.

MOLINE, Ill. — Influenza cases are on the rise across the country. This week, nearly 20,000 people were admitted to hospitals due to the flu. During thanksgiving week, Iowa saw 140 people admitted to hospitals with influenza while Illinois saw 79. 

"We're looking at like, almost 7% of all visits are due to influenza-like illness," said Niki Duffy, McDonough County Health Department. "This time last year, we were at a 1.8% influenza-like illness visit rate."

Hy-Vee Chief Medical Officer Dr. Daniel Fick explained that influenza is a respiratory virus that is similar to COVID-19 and RSV. 

“The virus affects people differently," Dr. Fick said. "Influenza tends to be more severe and young children while RSV and COVID tend to be more severe in elderly patients."

With cases increasing, health departments are urging people to get their flu shots as soon as possible. 

"We've super been focused this year on making sure that we're increasing access to flu shots for people around the area," Duffy said. "The more people getting their flu shots, the better."

Dr. Fick also said it's not too late to get your shot. 

"Some people may feel like it's a little bit late and that's not the case at all. People are getting their vaccines in January and February. It's never too late to get your flu shot." Dr. Fink said. 

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