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Flu death hits close to home; heightens awareness

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) -- A small town is more concerned than ever about the flu after a 24-year old mother died from it.

Chantelle Clark, a mother of 2, died from an unidentified strain of the flu and pneumonia. She was from rural Tuscola.

The Department of Health says the flu is widespread throughout the state. ICU admissions have shot up in the past few months.

A graph shows most of those are senior citizens, but the sickness can affect anyone.

"It does. At my age, I'm on down the road now, but at my age, certainly it does."

Young and old are susceptible to the virus. The flu doesn't discriminate.

Clark's friend says she was an amazing young lady who loved her two kids very much. The coroner says it will be days before they know which strain of flu killed her.

"Yes, it concerns me very much."

The Department of Health says there have been 350 influenza outbreaks this season alone. Four babies have died from it.

People around town say they know the dangers, but when it hits your hometown, it makes it all the more real.

"We have our neighbors who have four little boys and two of them have influenza right now. It's very concerning."

"It seems only one-third of people who took the shots are still surviving without getting sick, so it's epidemic in nature and I think we just have to do the best we can to take care of ourselvs."

"I'm a senior citizen. Very old and I worry about it for all of us. We do live here six months and in Florida six months. It's as bad down there and I am concerned for everyone."

You might have to shake off a sneeze or get an extra cup of coffee if you're feeling tired, but these common signs are now making people think twice.

"I'm one of those guys that don't want to go to the doctor anyways, but with the concerns, might try something different."

"No question about it at all. If I do get a symptom, because of that, I will check in and get treated."

An area walk-in clinic says they're sure the death will raise awareness in town and could even convince more people to seek medical help.

Douglas County officials encourage all citizens to get an up-to-date flu shot and follow CDC flu prevention guidelines.

Flu symptoms mimic cold symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may experience vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.

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