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Ohio Flu Hospitalizations Climb Dramatically


The number of hospitalizations due to influenza rose by more than a third in Ohio last week. More than 800 people were hospitalized in the fifth week of the year, compared with 611 in the fourth week, and 332 a year ago.

Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton says it's not too late to get the vaccine.

"We're seeing it be quite effective," she says. "I know people are worried it isn't, but this is a very effective flu shot this year. I definitely think if you want to head it off, and keep your family from getting it, this is the time to get that flu shot. There's still quite a bit of season."

Acton says the flu season can run through May.

While the flu is especially dangerous for the very young, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, Acton says it can be deadly for anyone. "A lot of people tend to think, if you're healthy it won't get you. But those of our colleagues who've been sick have said it's quite a doozy this year."

Besides getting the vaccine, what can you do to prevent it?

"Wash your hands. So boring sounding but it makes all the difference," Acton says. "Keep things clean with your regular cleaner. Cough into your sleeve. Stay home when you're sick, that'll make a big difference." 

While adult flu death numbers weren't immediately available, Acton says two children, an 11-year-old girl from Lake County and a 16-year-old from Cuyahoga County have died from the flu this season.

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Rinehart has been a radio reporter since 1994 with positions in markets like Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio: and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.