CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Flu activity has been on the rise every week for the past month.
In the last several weeks alone, two Northeast Ohioans have died from the virus.
"We've had more than 1,000 people go to emergency departments for fever and flu like illness in the last few weeks," said Cuyahoga County Department of Health Data Analyst, Richard Stacklin.
Doctors say those numbers are the worst they've seen in the past five years.
"We see flu activity is high this week here. We've had 79 hospitalizations within the last week," said Stacklin.
But Why? Stacklin says the holidays may have something to do with the spike in people contracting the virus.
"We know that the holiday season's just passed and people were together. Now they've been able to pass it on to people," said Stacklin.
So the best thing to do to protect you and your family is take the necessary precautions to make sure you don't end up in the hospital.
"It's important that people go out and get the flu shot. You can still get it and within two weeks you'll be protected," said Stacklin.
Another basic step you can take is washing your hands multiple times a day.
"Make sure to hand wash before prepping food. If you shake hands, be sure to wash your hands afterwards," said Stacklin.
According to Stacklin, small children and the elderly are at most risk for catching the flu virus.
The best line of defense would be the flu vaccine.
You can get one with or without insurance at the Cuyahoga County Department of Health.