By Kristin Bednarski
Flu cases are on the rise in the Clermont County and Greater-Cincinnati area, and there are ways to protect yourself, according to Clermont County Health Commissioner Marty Lambert.
“We are seeing an increase in influenza symptoms,” Lambert said. “There is also a really bad cold virus going around.”
Lambert said the health district does not get reports of the number of flu cases in the county, but they do get reports of residents who have been hospitalized because of influenza, and they also get reports of flu-like symptoms in schools.
Lambert said they have had reports of an increase in both flu and cold symptoms recently.
She said from Nov. 1 to Jan. 15, 33 people have been hospitalized in Clermont County for influenza.
“The majority (over 70 percent) are adults greater than age 60,” Lambert said. “We have only had three children hospitalized, the rest are younger adults.”
She said over the same period last year, there were no influenza hospitalizations, and only four hospitalizations the entire flu season last year.
“It’s just a nasty season,” Lambert said about this year.
Lambert said there are several preventative measures they suggest taking to avoid getting the flu, including getting a flu shot.
“Right now we are still recommending people get a flu shot,” Lambert said. “There are still flu vaccines available.”
Lambert said the health district still has the vaccine, and residents can also get the vaccine at many local pharmacies and at their doctor’s office.
Lambert said they recommend people “whack” the flu by using preventative measures that include washing your hands often, staying home when you’re sick, avoiding contact with your nose, eyes or mouth, covering coughs and sneezes, and keeping your distance from people who appear to be sick.
She said there are several distinct differences between the flu and a cold that people should be aware of.
“With the flu you feel like you got run over by a truck,” Lambert said. “You typically have a fever, you ache and there is not much of a stuffy head.”
She said with a cold, people can generally still function, they do not have a fever and they feel more congested.
“I think people need to recognize the difference,” Lambert said.
Lambert said if a person does have flu symptoms it is crucial for them to stay home and recover.
“If people have the flu they need to be home,” she said. “It is contagious and you will not feel like working or doing anything.”
Lambert also recommended people who have the flu call the doctor rather than going to the emergency room. She said the doctor will likely provide Theraflu or another type of medication, and will also suggest ways to treat the symptoms.
Lambert said even though the number of influenza cases seem to be increasing some, flu season often doesn’t peak in the area until the end of February or March.
“You just don’t know until you see the numbers start to drop,” Lambert said.
For more information about influenza visit www.clermonthealthdistrict.org.