Flu cases are rising in Ohio as the typical peak season for the virus begins.
The number of flu-associated hospitalizations are also rising with 338 new cases during the first week of January compared to 166 during the last week of December, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
There have been 893 total flu-associated hospitalizations in Ohio so far this flu season, which runs from October 2018 to May 2019.
The number of flu cases typically peak between December and February.
“Pregnant women, young children and people who already have serious medical conditions are especially at risk for serious complications from the flu,” said Dr. Clint Koenig, medical director for Ohio Department of Health.
Vaccines are recommended for everyone six months or older. Other prevention measures include good hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes with tissues, or coughing or sneezing into your elbow, avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and staying home when sick and until fever-free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication.
Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Although most people fully recover from the flu, some experience severe illness like pneumonia and respiratory failure, and the flu can sometimes be fatal.
People who think that they may have the flu and are pregnant, have an underlying medical condition, or who are extremely ill should contact their healthcare provider immediately.
Flu vaccines are offered by many doctor’s offices, clinics, local health departments, pharmacies and college health centers, as well as by many employers and some schools.
Along with flu, other illnesses also circulate this time of year as people spend more time indoors and have gathered in recent weeks to celebrate the holidays.
“A lot of people come in who want to be screened for the flu, who have a simple (upper respiratory illness),” Dr. Vincent Marsh, an emergency medicine physician at Kettering Medical Center, recently said.“There’s so many different viruses out there that cause this upper respiratory infection compared to the influenza A and B.”