breaking news

Honda to build CR-V at Marysville plant

Ohio flu activity elevated to highest level; ‘perfect time to get your flu shot’

As schools and offices close for the holidays and families and friends gather to celebrate, they may find an unwelcome guest among them— influenza.

Flu activity in Ohio has now been elevated to the highest level, “widespread,” the Ohio Department of Health said Monday.

“Widespread just means that we are seeing it in all pockets of the state,” Ohio Department of Health spokeswoman Melanie Amato said, “from northeast to southwest.”

Hospitalization numbers are well above last year and above the five-year average.

RELATED: Flu cases increase, first case admitted at Dayton Children’s

Last year, flu activity did not reach this level until mid-January. Hospitalizations due to the flu last year started to increase in December and peaked the last week of February.

So far this flu season, there have been 401 flu-associated hospitalizations in Ohio, and 45 of those have been in Montgomery County. That is the highest count of flu-associated hospitalizations in Ohio.

Dayton Children’s admitted its first child with flu symptoms the week of Dec. 4. That same week, there were 144 new hospitalizations because of the flu in Ohio. That same week last year, there were 29.

These hospitalizations are trending above the five-year average. Last year there were 8,661 flu-associated hospitalizations total.

Flu hospitalizations 
Hospitalizations between Oct. 1 and Dec. 9 are listed by county. 
CountyFlu-associated hospitalizations
Source: Ohio Department of Health

RELATED: Flu season: Doctors recommend not playing ‘viral roulette’

Ohio has not seen any pediatric deaths this flu season. Last year, there were six.

Australia and other parts of the southern hemisphere, which experience an earlier flu season than the U.S., saw record high hospitalizations because of the flu.

Strains in the southern hemisphere often spread to North America and Europe, but Dan Suffoletto, public information supervisor for Public Health Dayton - Montgomery County, said the flu is unpredictable.

“Each flu season is different,” Suffoletto said. “There are always peaks and valleys.”

It takes about two weeks for a flu shot to take full effect.

RELATED: 7 way to prevent your child from getting the flu this season

“Now is the perfect time to get your flu shot before the holidays,” Amato said, to prevent spreading the virus to loved ones.

Washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, avoiding others who may have the flu or avoiding others if you have the flu are some tips that Suffoletto gave to keep it at bay.

“If you think you have symptoms of the flu, go see a doctor before it is too late,” Amato said.

But Suffoletto said, “It is not too late to get your flu shot.”

Amato agreed.

“There are no shortages of vaccines available,” she said.

The Ohio Department of Health recommends that everyone six months and older get a flu shot as soon as possible.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Health

Parenting with Dr. Ramey: What’s dangerous about the Golden Rule

The Golden Rule advising that you should behave towards others as you’d like to be treated seems reasonable — but in fact, represents a dangerous and wrong way of thinking about the world. Lee Ross and his social psychology colleagues have called this blunder in thinking “naive realism.” Avoiding this error will make you a better...
D.L. STEWART: Real men wear short coats because being cold is cool

A letter writer to the chief fashion critic at The New York Times asked a question in last Tuesday’s edition. “My son is in college in Maine,” AMY, PELHAM, N.Y., wrote, “and the temperature is frequently below zero. It seems like every woman is swathed in an ankle-length black puffer coat from November to March. So why do men...
Coupon deals of the week
Coupon deals of the week

Coupon availability and coupon values may vary within different regions or neighborhoods. Irish Spring Body Wash This week at Rite-Aid, Irish Spring body wash is on sale for $3.99. In most of your Rite-Aid ad inserts, you should find a coupon for this product that will drop the price down to $1.99. Also, use the $1 off one Irish Spring body wash manufacturer...
Cat play is a weighty matter
Cat play is a weighty matter

Cats need daily playtime to keep them healthy and happy, according to The organization lists multiple benefits including mental and physical stimulation, energy release, performing preying behaviors and bonding with their humans. This is important because an Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) study shows over 50 percent...
6 top tiny home vacation rentals that won’t cost you your mortgage
6 top tiny home vacation rentals that won’t cost you your mortgage

Need a vacation that isn't followed by a barrage of credit card bills? Tiny home vacation rentals are a wallet-friendly option, with beach, mountain and ranch locations available. Renting a small space for a weekend getaway or weeklong adventure is also a great way to test drive the tiny home concept.  »RELATED: Here's what a $1 million...
More Stories