It does not look like we are out of the woods yet. Area doctors say the peak of the flu season could still be weeks away.
"You don't know what you're going to get until you're in the middle of flu season," said pediatrician Dr. Aaron Traeger with Advocate BroMenn Medical Center.
Traeger knows he'll be slammed every winter, but this year he's having flashbacks of the H1N1 pandemic of 2009.
"It was a new strain of the flu, something that wasn't included in the vaccine," he said.
Traeger's office is seeing on average an extra 10 patients a day. On the day after Christmas alone, he said he saw 50 patients.
Most have those dreaded flu symptoms.
"A lot more phone calls, lot more coming in. It's about a third of the visits we're seeing in a day," Traeger said.
It is hard to pinpoint exactly why the flu is reaching deadly epidemic levels this year. But regardless, it has the medical community making special arrangements to handle the tidal wave of patients.
"We will start to beef up staffing to accommodate that," said Dr. Lamont Tyler with OSF St. Joseph Medical Center Prompt Care.
Tyler said doctors are so busy, they're also asking people to consider seeing a family doctor first or staying home.
"The majority of healthy individuals can pretty much manage their symptoms at home. We just don't want them in a workplace or other settings where they can be contagious to others," Tyler said.
All of this is happening as concerns over the vaccine escalate.
Tyler said it is not as effective against the influenza A strain that is making the majority of people sick.
He said, "The vaccine is matched up pretty well, but what's circulating is not doing well against that particular strain."
Add to that the issue of a possible vaccine shortage since it is in high demand and the fact we have not even hit peak flu season yet.
That is not expected to happen until late January, leaving doctors clueless about what could happen until then.
"It's impossible to predict right now where this is going to go at this point," Traeger said.
Still, the vaccine is still your best line of defense. It is recommended for everyone ages six months and older.