DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – With flu cases soaring in Ohio, the state health department says it has been a rough season so far.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, the state had 925 new hospitalizations for flu last week. That’s up from 554 the week before.
The numbers right now are much higher than last year. More than 2,100 people have been hospitalized for flu statewide, according to state health officials. That compares to 369 at this time last year.
According to health officials, people coming together for holiday gatherings is likely a factor to explain why the numbers have recently risen so dramatically.
“We’re seeing a higher level of flu throughout the Miami Valley,” said Dan Suffoletto of Public Health – Dayton and Montgomery County. “We’ve seen a 61 percent increase this week over the last week.”
Suffoletto said it’s crucial to take the small steps, such as covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing and washing your hands.
He said it’s also still important to get a flu shot if you haven’t gotten one yet this season. It’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends for everyone over the age of six months.
“It’s still not too late to get your flu shot,” Suffoletto said. “You want to get it as quickly as possible ’cause it can take up to two weeks before it becomes effective.”
The unusually cold weather and snow aren’t to blame for the higher numbers of flu cases this season, Suffoletto said.
If you have gotten a flu shot already or plan to get one, it’s still not 100 percent effective, officials say, which is why it’s important to do what you can to prevent the spread of germs.