“It’s not too late to get a flu shot,” Bailer said.
Overall, it has been the mildest flu season of the last three years in Butler County, she said.
But she stressed her department and others in Ohio’s 88 counties only receive reports from local hospitals of flu victims who are hospitalized and not any information on those residents who suffer through the illness without going to the hospital.
Earlier this month, a 3-year-old died in Highland County, becoming the first reported death from the flu this winter, according to the Ohio Department of Health. During the 2017-18 flu season, Ohio reported six flu-associated pediatric deaths.
MORE: Flu season has been light so far for Butler County
The top health official in Warren County said the death of the Western Row student is not indicative of a trend.
“This case is an outlier,” Warren County Health Commissioner Duane Stansbury said. “The flu rates this year are much lower as are the hospitalizations for the flu.”
His department is waiting for a fully detailed report from the local hospital that treated Gibson. Stansbury said neither Mason schools, nor any other school in the county, have requested help from health officials this winter in combating outbreaks of the flu or any other illnesses.
According to Sietske de Fijter, state epidemiologist and chief of the Ohio Department of Health’s Bureau of Infectious Diseases, “it’s not too late to get a flu shot.”
“Getting the flu vaccine is the safest and most effective way to prevent the flu for everyone 6 months and older,” said de Fijter. “If you are sick with the flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading it to others.”
Symptoms of flu can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Flu vaccination is available at most healthcare providers’ offices, local health departments and retail pharmacies. There are no flu vaccine shortages across Ohio at this time, said state health officials.
Other effective ways to avoid getting or spreading the flu include: washing hands frequently or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer; covering coughs and sneezes with tissues or coughing or sneezing into elbows; avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth; and staying home when sick.