MEDINA — Flu activity is at its highest level, with the Ohio Department of Health announcing Monday that flu status has been elevated to “widespread.”
In Medina County, there here have been six influenza hospitalizations and five deaths that are influenza or pneumonia-related in the current flu season (October, November and December), according to a report released Friday.
“Every flu season is different,” said Krista Wasowski, Medina County Health Department commissioner.
“We have had other years where we have had other high levels of flu, but last year happened to be a year that we didn’t.”
There have been more than 400 flu-associated hospitalizations statewide since health officials made the upgrade.
Hospitalizations are much worse than this time last year when flu activity was not elevated to its highest level until mid-January, according to The Associated Press.
There were 8,661 flu-associated hospitalizations across Ohio in 2016, according to the state health department.
The flu virus is active other times of the year, but is more common in the fall and winter months because people are traditionally in closer proximity to one anther, said Wasowski.
She recommends staying at least 6 feet away from a very ill flu patient unless you are caring for them.
“The flu virus is spread by droplets, so if people cough or sneeze or talk in very close proximity to you and they are ill (it can be transmitted),” said Wasowski. “Until someone is fever-free for 24 hours they are still able to transmit that illness.”
Wasowski also said one of the best ways to prevent contracting the flu is simply washing your hands.
“I can’t really emphasize that enough,” she said.
Contact reporter Nathan Havenner at (330) 721-4050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.