CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - It is peak flu season in Ohio, and sadly, four children in the state have died from the illness.
Doctors say the number one thing people can do to protect themselves is getting the flu shot. Flu season can last until May, so it's not too late.
The CDC reports this season's flu shot is 48 percent effective. Doctors are still suggesting people get the shot.
"We have now seen widespread influenza activity here in Ohio, and it's starting to become widespread throughout the U.S. So we're really at the peak. How high this peak is going to go, we still don't know," said Dr. Frank Esper, a pediatric infectious disease specialist with Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital.
Esper says thousands of strains of the flu have been tested across the country.
The Ohio Department of Health reports hospitalizations for the flu have risen since December, and jumped in February from 400 to nearly 600 hospital visits.
So how else can can families protect themselves, especially those with children in school? They can start by cleaning common surfaces around the house like tables, doorknobs, and faucets. Kevin Brennan with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health says all of that effort can go a long way.
"As soon as you see that someone is ill, you need to start cleaning surfaces, because that means the virus is active. And also interesting, you may be ill with the virus, but not exhibiting symptoms. So things you touch could become infected," Brennan said.
Here's another reason to get the flu shot -- doctors say even if a person winds up getting the flu, they'll have milder symptoms.