COLUMBUS – Influenza-like illness is now widespread throughout Ohio for the first time this flu season, and the number of associated hospitalizations are rising.
The first week of January, there were 287 new confirmed flu-associated hospitalizations in Ohio compared to 157 the week before.
There have been 654 total flu-associated hospitalizations since flu season began last October.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu activity is on the rise across the country and this trend is expected to continue for at least several more weeks.
The 2015-16 flu season a year ago started a bit later and flu-associated hospitalizations did not peak until early March.
There were 3,691 total flu-associated hospitalizations during last year’s flu season.
“Vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors' visits and missed work and school.
Flu vaccination is available at most healthcare providers’ offices, local health departments and retail pharmacies.
“The short time it will take to get a flu vaccine is much less than the time it will take you to recover from the flu.
Patients who could benefit from them include children younger than 2 years old; adults 65 and older; people with chronic medical conditions including asthma, heart disease, or weakened immune systems; pregnant women; American Indians/Alaska Natives; and people who are morbidly obese.
“They work best when started within two days of getting sick.
Flu-associated pediatric deaths are reportable, but there have been no such deaths reported in Ohio so far this flu season.