The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has signaled the start of flu season as the number of cases continues to rise.
According to the CDC, Ohio is now one of the 18 states reporting regional flu activity.
“We’ve seen an uptick with that in the past few weeks,” says Dr. Mike Sevilla from Family Practice Center of Salem.
Dr. Sevilla says those numbers are likely to keep increasing.
“This is typically the time of year that we would see flu tests positive go up, hospitalizations go up,” he says.
As of the week ending Dec. 15,the Ohio Department of Health reported 67 influenza-associated hospitalizations. Ten of them were reported in the northeast part of the state.
“We’ve been telling our patients for a long time to look out because the flu numbers are going to be going up, so we’re officially in flu season,” Sevilla says.
Symptoms include high fever, chills and coughing. Doctors say it is particularly dangerous to babies and the elderly, so be aware if you are heading to holiday gatherings.
“If you’re very sick or if you think you’re going to be around vulnerable populations, you may even want to stay home during these events in the holiday season,” says Sevilla.
He says good hand washing is also a way to protect yourself and it’s never too late to get your flu shot.