While flu activity is widespread throughout Ohio for the first time this flu season, Butler County is experiencing a significant drop in hospitalizations from a year ago.
State health officials reported Ohio saw 338 flu hospitalizations during the first week of January, up from 166 the last week of December. So far, the state has had 893 flu hospitalizations since October.
Butler County, in contrast, the number of flu hospitalizations so far this flu season has been 24 through Monday compared with 97 last year, said Butler County Health Commissioner Jenny Bailer.
“This does not necessarily mean that this season will be any less severe than previous years’ flu seasons,” Bailer said. “It’s too early to tell how this flu season will be for Butler County.”
She and the Ohio Department of Health encouraged people who have not yet received flu shots to get them.
Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. The state encourages anyone who thinks they have the flu and are pregnant, have other medical conditions or who are extremely ill to contact their doctor immediately.
“If you are sick, stay home from work or school to rest and get well, and keep from spreading flu to coworkers or school mates,” Bailer wrote via email. “Call your doctor early to see if Tamiflu is right for you, it can help to decrease the severity and length of time you are sick.”
State officials released new flu data late last week as a signal that residents should protect themselves and others.
“Flu vaccination is the safest and most effective way to prevent the flu which can lead to missed work and school, and cause other serious health complications,” said ODH Medical Director Dr. Clint Koenig. “Pregnant women, young children and people who already have serious medical conditions are especially at risk for serious complications from the flu.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend everyone 6 months or older receive a flu vaccine every season.
People who particularly should get shots, according to the CDC, are:
- Children younger than 5, but especially those under 2;
- Adults 65 or older;
- Pregnant women, and those who recently were pregnant;
- Residents of nursing homes or other long-term senior care facilities;
- American Indians and Alaska Natives seem to be at higher risk of flu complications;
- People with Asthma; and
- Those with neurological conditions, chronic lung disease, heart disease, blood disorders, endocrine disorders (such as diabetes), liver disorders, kidney disorders; those with weakened immune systems, due to HIV, AIDS or cancer, anyone with extreme obesity and those younger than 19 on long-term aspirin therapy.