Cuyahoga County clinics seeing influx of influenza patients

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.

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