In its weekly FluWatch report, the Public Health Agency of Canada says there were 11,277 laboratory-confirmed cases of flu across the country as of December 30 - about 70 per cent attributed to H3N2 - with more than 1,000 influenza-related hospitalizations and 34 deaths.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the 2017-2018 flu season in OH is comparative to that in 2014-15, which was the most severe flu season in recent years.
White County Public Health nurse Marsha Oilar said a 91-year-old man from Reynolds, Indiana has died because of the virus.
ODH also is reporting 1,750 new confirmed flu-associated hospitalizations in OH during the first week of January, a significant increase over 925 reported during the last week of December.
Since October, there have been 166 people hospitalized with the flu in Lucas County.
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Again, there is still uncertainty regarding where the swaths of snow and ice will be located, and how much will occur. Cold wind chills as low as 15 below zero will cause frostbite in as little as 30 minutes to exposed skin.
It's relevant to note that these are just the reported numbers - they could be much higher, as not everyone seeks medical attention when they have the flu.
In Cuyahoga County, there have been two flu-related deaths, including a 70-year-old woman. The number of cases is rising and the predominant strain - A (H3N2) - is one that in past years has caused more hospital admissions and deaths than other strains, especially among older adults and young children.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Louisiana Department of Heath recommend a yearly flu shot for everyone over six months of age who does not have a complicating condition, such as a prior allergic reaction to the flu shot.
Those being treated for a respiratory illness or have flu-like-symptoms should obtain a mask at a Riverwood clinic or the hospital reception desk and wear it until you leave the facility.
According to Murti, we could see a peak of influenza A through January, while influenza B will likely peak at the end of February and into the spring.
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Dr. Michael de Lota, family medicine physician at ARC Kyle Plum Creek, said he believed the spike in cases stems from fewer people getting the flu vaccine.
"The virus we're giving them is dead, it's virtually impossible to get the flu from a vaccine", de Lota said.
"No parent should ever have to suffer the loss of a child to the flu". Another factor is a fear of getting the flu from the vaccine.
The antiviral medications work best when started within two days of the onset of symptoms; even after two days, these medications can be beneficial.
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