Influenza (flu) activity remains in full swing in Northeast Ohio. Disease surveillance software utilized by Lake County General Health District (LCGHD) reveals 115 healthcare visits in Lake County over this past weekend for Influenza-Like Illnesses, or ILI. Reported symptoms include vomiting, weakness, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath, cough and headache. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that ILI is still at a high level of activity in Ohio. Although not all ILI is diagnosed as the flu, we are still in the peak of flu season which typically runs December through February.
LCGHD regrets to report four additional flu-related deaths since its last report on January 9, 2018. These individuals, three females and one male, were all over 80 years of age. To date this flu season, Lake County has experienced a total of seven flu-related deaths, all adults over the age of 65.
The flu can be a mild to serious illness that could result in hospitalization. The flu virus is easily spread by tiny droplets that are produced by coughing, sneezing or talking. These tiny droplets can travel through the air and enter the mouth or nose of another person, or land on surfaces that others may touch. Once a person is exposed to the flu, it may take a few days for symptoms to occur. Symptoms of the flu include coughing, sneezing, fever, feeling hot and cold, running nose or stuffy nose, body aches and feeling tired.
The flu vaccine still remains the best defense in reducing ones chance of contracting the flu or shortening the duration of the flu. Flu vaccines can be administered at your local healthcare provider, local pharmacy or at LCGHD. Additional suggestions to assist in preventing the flu include the following:
- Wash your hands often, especially after sneezing or coughing and when preparing meals.
- When sneezing, sneeze into the crease of your arm, near your elbow. This will reduce the spread of germs to your hands which could then travel to other people and surfaces.
- Drink plenty of water and eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Stay home if you are sick. Give your body time to recover and to protect your colleagues from getting sick.
- Try to reduce your stress levels. This can cause your body to become rundown, making it more likely to picking up viruses.
For more information please call the Lake County General Health District at (440) 350-2554 or visit www.lcghd.org.