MONTICELLO, Ill., (WCIA) — You probably know someone who’s been sick this fall, or maybe you’ve been sick yourself.
The CDC is reporting 6.2 million flu illnesses so far this season, and hospitals are still seeing people come in with RSV and COVID as well.
Doctors said they’ve seen respiratory illnesses earlier than normal as pandemic precautions dropped away. Their offices have stayed busy as we now approach the holidays and deeper into cold and flu season.
Dr. Narain Mandhan, the Chief Medical Officer with Kirby Medical Center in Monticello, said he’s seen an increase in respiratory illnesses in the last 1-2 weeks.
“Most of those are influenza cases, we’ve seen some spike in RSV, as well as we see COVID coming back as well,” he said.
Dr. Mandhan said most of the patients are children, but knows the flu, COVID and even RSV affects adults too.
The CDC said flu cases are high across the country, and Dr. Mandhan said the symptoms, like body aches, a fever, sore throat and a slight cough, can vary.
Shelia Lanker, a school nurse in Monticello, is seeing a lot of sick kids in her office too.
“Right now, I would say we see a lot of upset stomachs and a lot of respiratory diseases,” she said.
Lanker said she knows it can be hard for parents to tell if their kid is sick or just sniffly.
“Do they really not feel well, are they just pretending, do they not want to go to school?” Lanker said. “But, I think a lot of parents really know. Pay attention to those signs that your kids show.”
But, she said the bottom line is to not go to school if you’re sick. She also suggests not taking medicine in the morning before school to keep your fever down. Kids should be fever free for 24 hours before returning to the classroom.
To get there, Lanker said it’s best to wash your hands, cover your cough and sneeze, and get plenty of rest.
But that’s not all. Dr. Mandhan encourages getting the flu shot and COVID booster.
He said it’s not too late yet if you haven’t gotten it; the flu season stretches till March. Dr. Mandhan said even if you still get sick after the vaccine, your symptoms probably won’t be as severe.