(WOIO) - Flu season is usually in full swing in January or February but already the number of flu related hospitalizations in Ohio has nearly tripled and health officials say we're just getting started.
At the Rocky River Urgent Care, Doctor Justin Smith says in the last month he's seen more than 50 patients with the flu compared to zero at this same time last year.
"I haven't seen anything like this in at least five years," says Dr. Justin Smith.
According to the Ohio Department of Health there's been a huge spike in reports of people being hospitalized for the flu, from 65 patients in December of 2011 to 863 one year later -- that's 13 times more people getting sick.
Dr. Smith takes a nasal swab from the patient which is then tested with a flu screen to confirm that the he or she has the virus. It can also tell the strain, but it does not change the treatment. The doctor says as far as this flu season goes he believes the worst is yet to come.
"I definitely think we haven't peeked anywhere close. Give it a couple months, February or so it will probably downgrade," says smith.
The CDC recommends that everyone six months and older get a flu shot. Wash your hands, and try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth. Also make sure to cover coughs and sneezes with your arm.