SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health is continuing to encourage the public to get vaccinated against the H1N1 influenza virus.
“It’s not too late to get vaccinated for the H1N1 flu,” said Dr. Damon T. Arnold, director, Illinois Department of Public Health. “Although flu activity has declined, the H1N1 flu virus continues to circulate and cases and deaths from H1N1 flu are still being reported in Illinois. Influenza vaccination is the first and most important step in protecting against the flu. Anyone who wants protection from H1N1 flu should get vaccinated. The vaccination is especially important for those with underlying health conditions.”
In past pandemics, flu activity has occurred in waves, and it’s possible the United States could experience another upswing in H1N1 flu cases in the spring or fall 2010, or localized outbreaks. It’s been almost a year since the H1N1 flu first surfaced in the U.S.
Ongoing vaccination of people with certain health conditions is particularly important because most cases of serious H1N1 illness (e.g., hospitalizations) occurred in people with underlying medical conditions.
Health conditions that increase the risk of being hospitalized from H1N1 include lung disease, like asthma or chronic pulmonary disease (COPD); diabetes; heart disease; or neurologic disease and pregnancy.
However, healthy people with no underlying conditions have also suffered severe cases of H1N1 flu. Lisa Amoruso of Bridgeport, Illinois was in a coma for almost the entire month of November, clinging to life as the H1N1 virus attacked her body. Starting today, the Illinois Department of Public Health will begin airing radio and television ads featuring Lisa talking about her experience with H1N1 and her biggest regret – deciding not to get vaccinated.
Those who have not received the H1N1 vaccination should to check with their medical provider or local health department about getting vaccinated. For more information about the H1N1 flu or to find the nearest vaccination site, visit www.ready.illinois.gov or call the Illinois Flu Hotline at 866-848-2094.