CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The good news from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health is that the county is not seeing many cases of the flu at this time, but according to what we have seen over the past five years, there is a good chance that is about to change.
The graphic below illustrates the number of flu cases, over the past five years, that prompted visits via Athena Health and Cuyahoga County.
Also, the county reports that the number of people hospitalized for flu spikes during the holiday season.
There appears to be a number of reasons for the increase in flu activity during the holidays.
One study suggests that our stress levels are out of balance, and that can leave us at a risk of infection.
Also, travel and holiday parties bring us in close contact, in closed quarters, with people who may be sick and that can lead to the spread of the flu.
Another issue that may be a factor in higher levels of flu cases is the increase in our consumption of sugar and alcohol, which is bad for our immune systems.
Cleveland Clinic Dr. Kristen Englund suggests you contact your doctor at the first sign of flu.
“You want to call your doctor or you can use one of the online apps, so that you can reach a doctor quickly and get started with treatment,” Dr. Englund said, “But not necessarily coming into the office and exposing a lot of other people who may already be sick with something else.”
Anti-viral flu medications can significantly reduce the severity of your flu but only, Dr Englund says, if you take them within 48 hours of the first symptoms.