CLEVELAND, Ohio – The number of flu-related deaths has reached 31 for the season in Cuyahoga County.
Cuyahoga County reported an additional flu death, a 70-year-old Cleveland man, during the past week, according to the Cuyahoga County Health Board.
This year's flu season has been fueled by the H3N2 strain, an unpleasant type of flu that tends to put more people in the hospital and causes more deaths than other common flu viruses. 19659002] There have been 1,750 influenza-related hospitalizations in Cuyahoga County during the season to date. The hospitalization rate has surpassed the record of 1,581 established during the 2014-15 season, said the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.
County officials said that the level of flu activity (or the number of reported cases) decreased from "very high" to "moderate" and the number of hospitalizations decreased 67 percent compared to the previous week.
Summit County reported that although influenza-related activity decreased in recent weeks, the county had three additional influenza-related deaths between January 28 and February 19. Since February 22, the county Summit reached a total of 26 seasonal and adult deaths related to influenza, according to Summit County Public Health.
In Medina County, the number of victims of the flu season reached 23, with two additional deaths recorded during the week ending February 17.
This flu season takes longer than usual in this area, but may have peaked, said Dr. Jennifer Hanrahan, medical director of infection prevention at MetroHealth Medical Center.
"There are still many people who go to their doctor with symptoms," Hanrahan said.
Doctors still recommend that the flu shot be the best way to protect against serious illness from the flu, but there are other steps you and your family can take to stay healthy.
Here are some tips from Hanrahan:
- Stay away from people who are sick and stay home if you are sick to avoid infecting others.
- Coughing and sneezing into your elbow so you do not spread germs on surfaces.
- Speaking of contaminated surfaces, use antibacterial wipes to clean surfaces that many people touch, such as the handles of supermarket trolleys. "There are bacteria and viruses on all surfaces," Hanrahan said.
- Wash your hands frequently and completely. The hand sanitizer is more effective than water and soap, because the sanitizer kills bacteria and viruses. Soap removes bacteria from the skin because it is slippery, but soap does not actually disinfect it, Hanrahan said.
- Get enough sleep, drink alcohol in moderation, eat well, and exercise. "Everything that keeps you healthy in general helps prevent stress on the immune system," he said.
- Stop smoking. Smokers have more respiratory infections.
To treat mild cases of flu, drink plenty of fluids to help prevent dehydration, boost the immune system, and dilute mucus. Go to your doctor or the emergency room if you think you may have a severe case of influenza. High fever and shortness of breath are signs of medical attention.
If you did not get a flu shot, you can get vaccinated at many pharmacies, retail stores, the Cuyahoga County Health Board, the Cleveland Department of Public Health, many county health boards, and doctor's offices. The cost is $ 10 or more, depending on the insurance. Click here to find out where to get a vaccine near you.
The Geauga County Health District has flu vaccination clinics for adults in March; Please click here for more details. The cost is $ 37 without insurance for those 19 to 64.
Read previous reports on this year's flu season:
2018 Flu Update: The flu vaccine did not prevent the death of the woman  2018 Influenza Update: Cuyahoga County hospitalizations approaching record numbers
2018 Influenza Update: Effectiveness of influenza vaccine is less than originally thought, as a new study shows
Influenza 2018: what do you need to know about the resistant H3N2 virus