The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that the 2014-15 flu season may be severe because Influenza A is the predominant virus strain, leading to more severe illness and mortality, especially in older people and young children.
Also, this year's flu vaccine isn't well-matched to two-thirds of Influenza A viruses circulating, reducing its effectiveness.
From Dec. 14-20, Ohio had 935 new confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations – a dramatic increase over the previous week's 529 new hospitalizations. Ohio has had 1,919 such hospitalizations thus far during the 2014-15 flu season.
Ohio had 331 such hospitalizations during this time of year last year, when Influenza A was not the main strain. Ohio had 851 such hospitalizations the same week of the 2012-13 flu season when Influenza A was also predominant. The number of such hospitalizations for that entire flu season exceeded 5,000.
Among Ohio's confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations this year, 177 have been children age four or younger, and 929 have been adults age 65 or older.
By far, Cuyahoga County has the highest percentage (33.6%) of Ohio's confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations.
Symptoms of influenza can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Vaccination remains the best protection against the flu, its severity and potential serious complications. Other effective ways to avoid getting or spreading influenza include hand washing; covering coughs and sneezes; avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth and staying home when sick until fever-free for 24 hours.