Four-Year-Old Boy Dies From The Flu In Ohio

Flu Outbreak Hits Widespread in 46 States

In the first week of January, there were 1,750 new confirmed flu-associated hospitalizations in OH compared to 925 the week before.

The state has seen over 3,800 flu-associated hospitalizations this season.

Twenty cases of both A and B strains of the flu have so far been reported to the Brant County Health Unit.

According to state data, previous year three people had died in influenza, but by the end of the February, it had taken 68 lives in California.

Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot as soon as possible as vaccination is the best protection against seasonable flu viruses.

The strain of the virus that has been predominant this flu season (H3N2) is more unsafe for the elderly and young children, Johnson said.

"Coming to the ER is perfectly fine, but there's always other places that you can go - primary care, doctor's office, and urgent care are always great options, and obviously if you're feeling really sick, you should come to the ER to get checked out", said Dr. Sampath Medepalli, a physician for Mercy Health St. Rita's.

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"Bottom line is people should get vaccinated", he said.

Local ER departments and outpatient clinics are also seeing very high volumes of patients, health officials said.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says flu activity in the US increased sharply during the first week of January, and is now categorized as widespread in 46 states. In Dayton Children's emergency department last week, there were 220 positive tests for the flu, which was 30 percent of those tested.

Other effective ways to avoid getting or spreading the flu include: washing hands frequently or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer; covering coughs and sneezes with tissues, or coughing or sneezing into elbows; avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth; and staying home when sick. Chills, body aches, sore throat, coughing and fever are some of the symptoms that the flu can cause.

To make matters worse, some pharmacies are dealing with temporary shortages of flu medications, due to demand.

KRMC saw 39 flu patients the week before Christmas, 78 the week after Christmas and 86 in the first week of the New Year, spokeswoman Teri Williams said.

The department advised people to seek emergency care only if they are at high risk for complications or experiencing severe symptoms.

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