Cleveland's Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital sees increase in flu cases

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.

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