PEORIA - Doctors say flu season might last longer than usual, and it's on pace for record number of reported cases.
More people are coming down with the virus than usual at this point of the year. Doctors at Proctor Hospital Emergency Center say it's no different here in central Illinois.
"Probably 30 to 40 percent of patients have some type of virus syndromes going on. Cold, cough, body aches, fatigues," said Dr. Jim Hubler, director of Proctor Hospital Emergency Center.
According to Hubler, the pace won't slow anytime soon. The spread started a month early this year, and is expected to last until March - two months later than usual. Hubler says conditions can still get worse.
"I think when the kids go back to school starting today and in a week, we'll probably be seeing a lot more kids," he said.
The Peoria County and City Health Department says simple precaution measures, like washing hands, are easy ways to prevent the spread of the virus. Hubler says keeping a sanitary environment can also help.
"Wipe down the handles of the refrigerators and the toilet, things like that. Just keep things more clean and sterile. The prevention's going to go a long way," said Hubler.
According to Hubler, this year's vaccination is the right match for the current flu virus. So he has no idea why the sudden jump in cases.
"I mean last year we had a very, very mild flu, so maybe people didn't get as much vaccination this year," he said.
Either way, Hubler says the emergency unit is ready. More doctors and nurses are on call to help with the increase of patients, but he claims the real battle takes place at home and patients taking care of themselves.
The Peoria City and County Health Department says a few simple tips can help keep away the flu.
First, it recommends anyone older than six months old should take the flu shot.
The department urges people to wash their hands and cough into your sleeve.
It says try not to touch your face because germs can spread quicker. And if you're sick or feeling flu-like symptoms, call your doctor and stay home.