Ohio Department of Health declares this winter’s flu activity to be “widespread”

Tara Tran, Staff Reporter

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has recently released information to the public stating that influenza activity is rampant in the state. This flu season is projected to continue into the spring. Since October, 833 hospitalizations have been reported to the ODH.

Two regions have been attributed to having the highest number of hospitalizations: northeast and east central Ohio. This unfortunately includes Case Western Reserve University.

“Because the flu virus is now widespread throughout Ohio, immunization is all the more essential,” noted ODH Director, Dr. Ted Wymyslo in a statement to the media. “Immunization is the safest and most effective way to fight the flu so I encourage all Ohioans who have not already done so to get vaccinated today.”

Immunizations are available at Case Western Reserve University’s University Health Services at 2145 Adelbert Road.

Students can make appointments at healthservice@case.edu or 216.368.2450. The 2013-2014 vaccination given at University Health Services will defend against two influenza A viruses: an H1N1 strain and an H3N2 strain as well as one influenza B virus, noted University Health Services officials. These were determined by research that indicated that these three strains would be the most common during this season. The ODH website projects that on average over 3,000 people in America die of pneumonia or influenza annually. While not all of these deaths are directly due to the flu, many could have possibly been prevented with an influenza vaccination.

Although immunization is the most effective means of protection against the flu, other steps can be taken to keep from being impacted by the flu. These include washing hands often, cover coughs with tissues, avoiding touching eyes and staying home or reaching out for help when one is sick.