Nanette Bentley, spokesperson for Mercy Health, said since the start of the flu season in October, Mercy Health — Springfield Regional Medical Center, Mercy Health —Urbana Hospital and Mercy Health — Dayton-Springfield Emergency Medical Center have had 116 patients test positive for Influenza A or B in the emergency departments.
“We started flu season with six cases in one week and in the last week of December, we had 40 cases, meaning that more than a third of all of our flu cases came through in just one week,” Bentley said.
There were 308 cases of flu recorded in Clark County in 2018, according to the Clark County Combined Health District. That’s two times more than there was in 2017, according to the same statistics.
Symptoms of influenza can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, chills and fatigue. And while most people fully recover after getting sick, some experience severe illness and the flu can sometimes be fatal.
People who think that they may have the flu and are pregnant, have underlying medical conditions, or who are extremely ill, should contact their health care provider immediately.
Champaign County has reported six flu-related hospitalizations so far this season, according to data from the CCCHD.
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Flu season begins in October and lasts through May. The start of the season is usually slow, but typically pick up during and after the holiday season when people tend to be in close proximity to others.
The health district encourages residents to get a flu shot to prevent the spread of the virus.
“The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year,” Smales said. “But good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu.”
Some of those healthy habits include avoiding close contact with people who are sick, washing your hands often or using hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth — as germs are usually spread when a person touches something contaminated and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth.
Practicing other good health habits like disinfecting frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill, getting plenty of sleep, being physically active, managing stress, drinking plenty of fluids and eating nutritious foods can help prevent illness as well, the health district said.