At least one local hospital says they are seeing an uptick in flu and upper respiratory illnesses as people gather with family and friends to celebrate the holidays.
“It’s probably the last few weeks I’ve really seen it take off. That with the other respiratory viruses,” said Dr. Vincent Marsh, an emergency medicine physician at Kettering Medical Center. “We’re in enclosed quarters, we’re closer to each other.”
Marsh said many of the patients coming into the hospital with flu didn’t have their flu shots, but he also notes that many people getting screened for the flu actually end up having a different illness.
“A lot of people come in who want to be screened for the flu, who have a simple (upper respiratory illness),” Marsh said. “There’s so many different viruses out there that cause this upper respiratory infection compared to the influenza A and B.”
There have been 835 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations in the U.S. reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from Oct. 1 to Dec. 15, according to the CDC’s weekly report.
The Ohio Department of Health reported a total of 13 influenza-associated hospitalizations in Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Shelby counties from Dec. 9 to Dec. 15, more than triple the amount from the week before.
However, the CDC says influenza-like illnesses reported in Ohio the week of Dec. 15 were minimal, however states to the south of the Buckeye State began to see an increase in activity the same week. Numbers for last week have not been released by the agency.
In the days before Christmas, Five Rivers Health Centers reported their schedules to see patients were filling up quickly as many people had some type of illness.
“There’s been a little bit of an influx with patients,” said Jason Roberts with Five Rivers Health Centers, which has offices in Dayton and Xenia. “We’ve had our schedules built in with same day appointments and those have filled in pretty quickly.”
According to the CDC, seasonal flu activity often begins as early as October and November and can continue to occur as late as May.
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