Influenza is on the rise in northeast Ohio, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health said Thursday.
NORTH ROYALTON, Ohio - Local clinics have been treating more patients for influenza than normal during this time of year.
Violet Bolyard, who was diagnosed with COPD months ago, got her flu shot back in October. She said she is taking precautions.
"I've been having a hard time breathing and I'm afraid I might be getting the flu," Bolyard said.
"My little, 2-year-old granddaughter was in the hospital last Thursday night with the flu," she said. "She was dehydrated, couldn't drink anything."
Dr. Matthew Frantz said the flu season has been terrible so far. His North Royalton office, and CVS Minute Clinics around the area, have been inundated with patients.
"In the office, we've had a lot in the hospital and in the nursing homes, it's been particularly bad," he explained.
Frantz said seniors are getting hit the hardest.
"The problem with some of the flu vaccines is there's a higher dose flu vaccine that should've been given in the elderly," Frantz said.
"We've seen a few deaths, pneumonias, respiratory failures, a lot of hospital admissions. It's been devastating to some of these folks," he said.
Infection disease specialist at MetroHealth Medical Center Dr. Melissa Osborn said the number of cases is definitely up and doctors are seeing typical symptoms like fever, sore throat and muscle aches.
Osborn said it's not too late to get a flu shot and it's a myth that people get the flu from the vaccine.
Meanwhile, Bolyard said she knows all too well how important her health is. For that reason, she's not taking any chances.
"With my lungs as bad as they are I wouldn't want to get the flu or pneumonia," she said.
The Centers for Disease Control projects 135 million doses of flu vaccine to be produced this season.
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.
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