CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -Northeast Ohio doctors’ offices and urgent care facilities have filled up with the people sick with the flu.
According to the CDC, the weekend ending Nov. 23, Ohio was in the “local activity” category for confirmed flu cases.
Just five weeks later, in the last week of 2019, nearly the entire country had been swept into the widespread category by the CDC.
“The physician offices are seeing an increase in influenza cases at Ahuja medical center this week,” Dr. Roy Buchinsky said, Dir. of Wellness for University Hospitals. “We are seeing mainly Influenza B activity at this time. Treatment with specific anti-viral medications are effective in decreasing both the duration and the extent of the illness. Hospital urgent care and emergency rooms are also witnessing increased patient volume d/t influenza related illnesses.”
Influenza A and influenza B viruses are similar in symptoms and treatment, but influenza A normally makes up 75% of the cases every year and influenza B just 25% according to Healthline.
It was reported this week that Ohio had its first flu death of the season, a 16-year-old girl from Northeast Ohio.
“The tragic death of a local high school student in Cuyahoga County this week highlights the rare but real complication of the influenza virus.” Buchinsky said. “Typically, the very young and the old (65 and older) are at higher risks of complications from the Influenza virus. This can include dehydration, Pneumonia and rarely death.”
Buchinsky stressed the importance of the flu shot and that it’s not too late to get the vaccine.
“Vaccines are not perfect, but they are powerful in preventing the flu illness. It is not too late to get your flu vaccine if you have not yet received one this season,” Buchinsky said.