CLEVELAND — Hundreds of people have died from pneumonia, flu or related illness in Cleveland this flu season, according to figures released by the Cleveland Department of Public Health.
Health officials state that as of Jan. 4, there have been 170 deaths associated with pneumonia, flu or related illness. Additionally, there have been more than 7,100 flu-related emergency room visits relating to flu or related illness.
The flu season typically starts around October and can last until May. Health officials say flu activity currently considered "very high." Flu cases often peak between December and February.
According to the health department, the predominant strain going around Northeast Ohio currently is Influenza B and has been seen in around 73% of cases this season.
The age populations associated with the flu or related illness this year are "substantially younger than in the previous five seasons," health officials said.
Health department numbers state that of those people affected by Influenza A this season, 59% of people were not vaccinated. When it comes to Influenza B, 75% of the cases involved people who were not vaccinated.
If you don't have your flu shot this year, you can head to Thomas McCafferty Health Center, 4242 Lorain Road, on Mondays from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. You can also visit the J. Glen Smith Health Care Center, 11100 St. Clair Avenue on Thursdays from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Here are some ways to keep from getting sick or spreading the flu:
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
- Staying home when sick
- Washing hands often or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Covering coughs and sneezes with tissues or coughing or sneezing into elbow
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have this to say about the flu:
Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses that can be spread by airborne droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. It causes mild to severe illness which can cause hospitalization or death. Symptoms of flu can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Because influenza is unpredictable and spreads each year with the timing, severity, and length of the flu season varying, the CDC states that getting a shot through the end of January is still effective.
Correction: A previous version of this story contained incorrect data provided by the Cleveland Department of Public Health regarding the number of pneumonia, flu and related deaths.