The data can be overwhelming, but it's all critical and tells a complete story to researchers at the Cuyahoga County Health Department as they track trends and the severity of the flu season.
Richard Stacklin is a researcher for the county and he says the research is critical to public health.
"If we don't have an understanding of the significance of how people are getting sick then we're just kind of guessing," said Stacklin.
The county uses a five step research process, tracking the sales of over the counter flu medications, flu related hospitalizations, school absences, emergency room visits and deaths from flu or pneumonia.
Stacklin says all are equally critical.
"We need to look at the whole picture, each piece has its relevant part in understanding what's going on in the community," expressed Stacklin.
And the research shows we are having an earlier than normal severe flu season, and it's not anywhere near being over.
The numbers suggest that we are in for another surge in flu cases later this month and into February, the traditional peak of the flu season.
"If one child, one adult gets sick and has to go to the hospital that affects a lot of people," Stacklin said.
The county calls the research; a call to action, and urges everyone to protect themselves, "It's really important that the public is aware of the severity of this flu season and people take action," said Stacklin.
Getting a flu shot, Stacklin says, is the first step.