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February sees increase in flu illnesses

The Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency is reporting an uptick in flu-like illness and other viruses.
Agency health officer Rebecca Burns said the tri-county health department during February saw an increase in respiratory illnesses and gastro-intestinal illnesses, as well as other communicable diseases.
According to Kim Wilhelm, prevention services director, it is typical for flu to peak in February and March, when people spend more time indoors with the windows sealed.
Wilhelm said such a situation means people are more likely to breathe the same air as someone who has the flu and more likely to contract the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control also suggests that because days are shorter during the winter, there are fewer hours of sunlight which can lead to low levels of vitamin D and melatonin.
The lack of vitamin D and melatonin can compromise immune systems, which in turn decreases a person’s ability to fight viruses.

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