Influenza is on the rise in northeast Ohio, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health said Thursday.
CLEVELAND - The cases of the flu at Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital have increased sharply from this time last year.
Last flu season, from October 2011 to January 2012 there were 12 confirmed cases. So far this flu season, dating back to October, there have been 93 cases of the flu in kids.
Several local hospitals are seeing an increase of flu cases in both children and adults.
Dr. Andrew Hertz is a pediatrician as well as the medical director of the UH Rainbow Care Network.
"It's been a very early and heavy season. We usually don't see flu until January or February, but we had flu in November and early December," Hertz said.
Jen Kler is a mother of five. She makes sure her children get the flu vaccine each year.
"It's something simple and easy that I can do at the beginning of the cold weather season to keep them safe and healthy," Kler said.
Doctor's offices, hospitals and even schools are dealing with kids fighting the flu. Chris Bell is the school nurse at Cleveland Heights High School. She usually sees about 35 kids daily in her office.
But, just a few weeks ago, that number nearly doubled and many of the symptoms pointed to the flu.
"I would say some of the kids who presented with viral symptoms looked more like the flu than the cold, based on the temperature they were having," Bell said.
Doctors say they believe the best way to treat the flu is with prevention and that means getting a flu shot. The flu season is expected to last several more weeks and doctors said it is not too late to get the vaccine.
NewsChannel5's Lee Jordan spoke with a doctor about how this flu season is particularly active. See the video for the interview.
Supervisor of Clinical Services at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health Cindy Modie and the staff there are gearing up for an impending flu immunization season.
Residents in Lorain County can head to the fairgrounds Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a flu vaccine. The flu shot costs $15. For non-residents, it costs $20.
The American Academy of Pediatrics urged parents Monday to vaccinate children against the flu as soon as possible.
The number of Ohioans hospitalized with the flu since last September jumped dramatically over the previous year, but health officials say there isn't an easy explanation for the increase.
The flu season is winding down, and it has killed 105 children so far -- about the average toll.
You never want to sit next to that guy during flu season.
It turns out this year's flu shot is doing a startlingly dismal job of protecting senior citizens, the most vulnerable age group.
The number of states reporting intense or widespread flu dropped again last week, U.S. health officials said Friday.