McHenry County residents are being hit hard by this year’s flu. The percent of rapid influenza tests that are positive at McHenry County healthcare sites is about 8.5 percent greater than this time last year, according to the McHenry County Department of Health 2010-11 Influenza Surveillance.Also, the percent of flu patients who tested positive was 32.9 percent. Of the people who tested positive for influenza, 81.8 percent were influenza A. Among the influenza A’s, 25.3 percent were H1N1.In order to get protected from the sudden onset of fevers, headaches, chills, dry coughs and body aches that come with the flu, residents are encouraged to get a preventative flu vaccine.Centegra Health System offers two conveniently located Immediate Care centers for people with minor medical problems, including the flu. Centegra Immediate Care Centers provide the influenza vaccine in the Crystal Lake Medical Arts building behind Dominick’s and at Centegra Health Center – Huntley off Haligus Road. Hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.Centegra Immediate Care Centers provide easy access for minor medical problems. In the case of an emergency, always go straight to the emergency department to be treated. Centegra Associates update wait times hourly on twitter. To view wait times for each of the Centegra Immediate Care sites, visit twitter.com/chswaittimes.It is important to remember to wash hands often with warm, soapy water and use alcohol-based hand rubs when a sink is not nearby. Also, stay away from people who are ill to avoid exposure to viruses and the flu. Eat well, sleep seven to nine hours a night, exercise and manage stress to maintain a healthy immune system during this time of the year.Centegra Immediate Care is here to provide patients with fast treatment and healing options for minor medical problems. Walk-ins are welcome and billing is conducted similar to a doctor’s office rather than the emergency department.Centegra Health System is committed to meeting the healthcare needs of the residents of greater McHenry County and to making services available in multiple and convenient locations, including hospitals in McHenry and Woodstock, Immediate and Primary Care Centers, Centegra Sage Cancer Center, Health Bridge Fitness Centers and more. As the region’s leading healthcare provider, Centegra Health System continues to bring the latest treatments and technology, along with the skills of nearly 4,000 medical professionals, to meet the needs of the growing McHenry County community. For more information on Centegra Health System visit centegra.org, search Centegra Health System on Facebook or call 877-CENTEGRA (877-236-8347).