Flu season arrives early in Ohio
Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2013 23:01
Every year around this time, the public is reminded of the threat of the flu virus, and this year, the virus has been making an early appearance.
According to Teffie Pollock, public information officer at the Ohio Department of Health, this flu season has started earlier than normal, although it is too early to tell if it will be worse than previous years.
Pollock said the Ohio Department of Health uses two factors to measure the severity of a flu season: the number of flu-related hospitalizations and the number of flu-related pediatric deaths.
According to Pollock, Ohio has seen 1,922 flu-related hospitalizations and one flu-related pediatric death this season. At this time last year, the state had seen 86 hospitalizations and no pediatric deaths. Pollock said the jump in hospitalizations and pediatric deaths could be because the flu is an unpredictable virus.
Pollock said Ohio’s flu activity this season is comparable to flu activity nationwide, which has also occurred earlier than normal.
“The numbers of cases at this time are usually equal to the peak of the season in February,” Pollock said.
Rose urge students to get the flu vaccine and said it is not possible to get the flu from the flu shot since it is not a live vaccine.
Both Rose and Pollock urged the public to wash hands frequently, get plenty of rest and exercise and eat healthy to prevent getting sick. They also recommend that those who feel sick stay home to avoid getting others sick.
Sophomore Anna Swanson, a student interested in pursuing a career in public health, has been aware this flu season.
“My brother goes to school in Philadelphia and that region is starting to be affected,” she said. “I haven’t gotten a flu shot, but I know I should. I’ve been trying to be very proactive about hygiene and Purell because dorms are especially disgusting and you have to be extra-cognizant.”
Students who feel as though they may have the flu should make an appointment at the Student Health Center, located at 421 S. Campus Ave., open 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The Miami University Student Health Center offers flu shots to students for $20. Community members and students can also get a flu shot at any local pharmacy.