Flu season is getting started and some local people have already been hospitalized.
The latest report from the Ohio Department of Health said as of Nov. 3 there have been 53 flu-related hospitalizations in the state.
That includes three cases in Montgomery County, two in Butler County and one in Warren County since the state started tracking cases for the season Sept. 30.
Local health care providers are advising everyone six months or older should get a flu shot to reduce their risk of getting the virus, which can cause not just illness but also led to the death of around 80,000 people in the U.S. last season.
Flu vaccines — which take about two weeks before fully effective — are recommended to be received before the end of October but it is not too late to receive a flu shot.
“You are not only protecting yourself but protecting those around you that you might come in contact with, whether that’s a little baby or your grandparents or someone with a compromised immune system,” Jason Briscoe, director of pharmacy operations at Drug Mart, said earlier this year.
Last season there were 17,397 flu-related hospitalizations in Ohio, doubling the amount from the previous season and more than four times the number from 2015 to 2016 when there were 3,691 cases.
There were four children in Ohio who died from the flu last season. Adult flu deaths are not tracked by Ohio Department of Health.
Along with getting vaccinated, Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County officials have said it is important to take other preventative measures like hand washing and staying home from work or school if sick.
Flu vaccines are now available at locations including doctors’ offices, pharmacies, Public Health and urgent care centers. This year the nasal spray option of the flu vaccine is also back after several years of being out of circulation.
If you have an egg allergy, the CDC now says even people with severe reactions like hives can now get the vaccine, though should get it in a medical office setting and not at a pharmacy.
If a person does get the flu, the FDA approved this month the first generic version of Tamiflu, making flu treatment cheaper. Like the branded version, the generic is for treating patients within 48 hours of when flu-like symptoms appear, like fevers, chills, coughing, muscle aches, congestion, headaches and fatigue.
The flu vaccine is about 40 to 60 percent effective, but even if a person still gets the flu after being vaccinated, they typically have less severe symptoms than if they had been vaccinated.
The time from when a person is exposed and infected with flu to when symptoms begin is about two days, but can range from about one to four days, according to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
People with flu are most contagious in the first three to four days after their illness begins. The CDC said some otherwise healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others with flu viruses for an even longer time.