Three people in Ohio have died from a deadly flu strain and the Medina County Health Department advises, with the peak flu season approaching, it’s not too late to be vaccinated.
Two people died of the H1N1 (swine flu) strain last week, according to the Toledo Lucas County Health Department, and a third person died on New Year’s Eve.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, this year’s flu vaccine includes an immunization against the H1N1 (swine flu) virus, as well as another form of influenza A, and two forms of influenza B.
CDC data show the flu is widespread in Ohio, with more than 50 percent of the 88 counties reporting flu activity.
Data from the Ohio Department of Health show more than 300 confirmed influenza-related hospitalizations were reported throughout the state through Jan. 4.
Medina Hospital spokeswoman Sabrina Powers said the hospital has had two to three patients with flu symptoms on any given day so far this year.
“Flu vaccines are recommended for everyone 6 months and older, especially pregnant women and those at high risk for complications, including the elderly, children younger than 5 years old, and those with underlying medical conditions such as asthma or diabetes,” Medina County Health Commissioner Krista Wasowski said.
Flu vaccines are offered in doctor’s offices, clinics, pharmacies and grocery stores. The Medina County Health Department’s Public Health Nursing Division reports it has an ample supply of pediatric as well as a high-dose vaccine for individuals age 65 and older. A limited supply of state-supported vaccine also is available for uninsured individuals 50 and older, or uninsured 19- to 49-year-olds with a qualifying medical condition.
County health officials say the best way to combat the flu is to get vaccinated, but also suggest the following:
• Avoid close contact with ill individuals.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub.
• If you should become ill, stay home from work or school for at least 24 hours after a fever has subsided.
For more information about the flu or to schedule an appointment for a vaccination, call the Medina County Health Department, Health Services at (330) 723-9688 or (888) 723-9688, option 1.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.