Thursday, 18 January, 2018

2 boys die as unsafe flu season ramps up

The Ohio Department of Health reports the state's first pediatric flu-related death of the 2017-18 flu season a 4-year-old boy from Montgomery County.
Influenza claimed the lives of two people in Northeast Ohio according to the Cuyahoga County Board Jefferson County health officials say local hospitals over capacity due to flu cases
Jerome Frank | 11 January, 2018, 06:08

The State Department of Health only reports flu deaths in counties if there are more than 5 confirmed flu-related deaths.

Byrne says wash your hands to keep from catching the flu.

The Ohio Department of Health said influenza A, or H3N2, is the most common virus this season.

H3N2 has been responsible for some of the worst flu seasons in the U.S. in recent years, including the 2006-2007, 2012-2013, and 2014-2015 bouts.

But people should still get the flu shot, she said, because it offers protection against multiple strains.

How do you know if you have influenza?

Health officials locally and statewide said people who experience flu symptoms - fever, chills, sore throat, muscle aches, headaches or nasal congestion - should contact their doctor. And hospital patients are asked to have no more than two visitors at a time.

Ruth Gratton, manager of infectious diseases at the health unit, said that number is not unusual for this time of year.

Public health officials are also urging those who are sick to stay home, and for employers to allow workers to take days away when they're ill.

He said most cases of the flu do not require hospitalization. "Every spring, we try to guess what strains are going to be in the environment, so six months before anybody really is getting ready for flu, we're guessing from the Southern Hemisphere what's going to happen in the Northern Hemisphere", he said.

Wischmeier says it's still worthwhile getting a flu shot, even though the season has been underway in full force.

Additionally confounding issues, numerous healing facilities across the country are battling with a deficiency of sacks that contain liquids that convey drug to treat dried out patients, including influenza patients. Emergency room visits due to flu are up 130 percent from a year ago, officials said.

Up to December 30, 1,050 influenza-associated hospitalizations had been reported and 34 deaths.

"We ask that people educate themselves regarding when to come to the emergency room and when to stay home", Rohler said. The flu can lead to complications like pneumonia, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions.

It's not clear yet how effective this year's flu vaccine will be, as federal data on that won't be available till February.

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