COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio is seeing record flu numbers to start 2018. The Ohio Department of Health said 1,750 people were hospitalized because of the flu during the first week of January, a record number. That’s nearly three times as many people as normal.
The big question many of you are asking is why is this flu season so bad? Ohio Department of Health Medical Director Dr. Clint Koenig said there are two big reasons-this year’s flu vaccine isn’t as effective as they’d like it to be and this flu strain is more aggressive, making it extremely dangerous for the very young and very old.
Mom Leela Chou takes the flu seriously.
“We wash our hands like crazy,” she said.
At work, she even wears a mask to ensure she isn’t bringing home germs that could get herself, her clients or her three-year-old son sick.
“I use a face mask if I or any of my clients even have the slightest sign of a sniffle.”
Dr. Koenig said it’s been a bad year for the flu.
“It’s because the strain is actually very virulent, in other words, it attacks hard and it also is just one that the body doesn’t fight off very well,” he said.
Despite this year’s vaccine being only 30-35 % effective, Dr. Koenig said you’ll still benefit from the flu shot.
“People who get their flu shots tend to get less severe flu symptoms if they do end up getting the flu.”
He said the flu shot saves lives, especially children’s.
“Giving a flu vaccination can actually cut pediatric death rates by 50%.”
A CDC study found three out of four children who died from the flu hadn’t gotten the flu shot.
It’s not too late to get vaccinated. Dr. Koenig said the flu season lasts October through May so you still stand to benefit by getting a flu shot now.