The McLean County Health Department is asking the public to voluntarily limit hospital visits due a recent increase in influenza.
Sue Grant is a registered nurse with the department. She said February is often a peak month for flu activity.
"People bring the disease with them when they travel at the holidays, and people are in parties and bigger events and this time of year, everyone is inside and cooped up together. So you have close contact with more people and it's an easier spread for the flu that way," said Grant.
She added the request is based on anecdotal evidence reported by hospitals and health care centers in Bloomington-Normal.
"Both hospitals (Advocate BroMenn and OSF St. Joseph) are reporting seeing a large number of patients with influenza, as are the prompt-cares and walk-in clinics," Grant said.
The health department is requesting no one with flu-like symptoms visit a hospital. If a visit can't be prevented, it's suggested the visitor wear a facemask before entering. The request also suggests visitors be 18 years of age or older.
Grant said one recent study in Sweden found people are more apt to catch the flu after a cold-weather snap.
WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.