There were 1,750 new flu-associated hospitalizations in OH during the first week of January. That spike is comparable to the amount seen during the entirety of last year's flu season, and local hospitals have felt the strain.
The Ohio Department of Health said influenza A, or H3N2, is the most common virus this season.
A toddler in Lucas County has died from complications of the flu this week, becoming the second child to die from pediatric flu this season.
"We're seeing a pretty large spike in cases over the last two weeks", Jennifer Roth, the department's Epidemiologist said.
Health officials now say two boys from OH have died from the flu in what is shaping up to be one of the most severe flu seasons in recent years. "Every spring, we try to guess what strains are going to be in the environment, so six months before anybody really is getting ready for flu, we're guessing from the Southern Hemisphere what's going to happen in the Northern Hemisphere", he said.
If you experience flu-like symptoms, stay home 24-48 hours after symptoms resolve, unless you are seeking medical care. He added, that if teachers get sick, the school is also ready to support them with substitute teachers available and on call.
But Harding said people should still get a flu shot because even it the vaccine is off some, it can still make the symptoms less severe compared to not having the shot at all. In Dayton Children's emergency department last week, there were 220 positive tests for the flu, which was 30 percent of those tested.
The deaths are the first reported by the state since flu season started in October. "We usually say over and over again that the season would peak around the fifth or sixth week of the year, so in early February". Vaccine effectiveness against other circulating flu viruses has been about 60 percent for H1N1 viruses, and around 50 percent for influenza B viruses. Chills, body aches, sore throat, coughing and fever are some of the symptoms that the flu can cause.
It's not too late to get your flu shot.
In addition to vaccination, public information officer Alexandra Reed said consistent hand washing and staying home if you are sick are the keys to preventing the virus' spread. Antiviral drugs work best when administered within two days of getting sick.
Administering a flu vaccination to a patient is Terri Buratczuk, clinical director of the Tri City Health Partnership, a free health clinic in St. Charles that provides services for those who are uninsured or underinsured.