ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (WLS) –
Chicago health officials announced this season's first infant flu death in the city, while a suburban school district reported that nearly 200 students remained ill at home Wednesday due to 39, an epidemic of influenza.
The health department has not given more information about the victim's identity or age, but it is the third death due to the flu in the country. Illinois this season. Last month, an influenza-related death was reported in Kane County and state officials announced the death of a third death in the flu district.
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In the northwestern suburb of Arlington Heights, 15 percent of the 800 students at the South Middle School of Arlington Heights stayed home Wednesday with the flu. School authorities had to send 23 more students home because they were sick.
"With 190 children, the dining room looks empty, the classrooms are small, we miss them," Gavin said.
"I know a friend of my daughter, her schedule was so high that she was going to take her to the ER," said Ingrid Letzig, whose daughter is in 8th grade. She is not alone.
"We are just starting to see it, January is actually a relatively light month, and February was one of the worst in February," said Dr. Brian Doane, deputy medical director of the Medical Center. Emergency Northwest Community Hospital.
Emergency room doctors and nurses at Northwest Community Hospital said they began treating 15 to 20 flu patients a week, some of which were serious. Influenza can be difficult to diagnose on your own.
"Influenza causes widespread muscle pain, fatigue, and weakness, and will not only cause one or two of these symptoms, it will cause the full range of these symptoms," said Dr. Doane.
And because it's very contagious – through the air, coughing, sneezing and common surfaces – places like schools turn into petri dishes. South Middle School encourages parents to treat early and keep sick students at home to care for them.
"They absolutely have to stay home because when they come they will not feel better if they are not 100% and they will catch something else," said Susan Gavin. an employee of the school.
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