Thursday, Sep 20, 2018
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Flu hospitalizations tick up again in Lucas County this year

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    Nurse practitioner Amy Spangler holds a flu shot behind her back at Mercy Health in Sylvania, Ohio.

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    Nurse practitioner Amy Spangler applies a band aid to Madyson Bauer, 6, after giving her and her brother Joey Bauer, 8, a flu shot at Mercy Health on Jan. 11, in Sylvania, Ohio.

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The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department is again warning residents to take extra precautions because of an uptick in flu hospitalizations in the county this season. 

Lucas County has 538 confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations since the season began in October, health officials said Friday.   

It marks a more than 205 percent increase compared to the 2016-2017 season when there were 176 hospitalizations in the county. There were 43 in the 2015-2016 season and 297 in the 2014-2015 season.

“If you have not yet been vaccinated this year, it's not too late,” Health Commissioner Eric Zgodzinski said in a statement. “When you get vaccinated, you are not just protecting yourself. You are also protecting the people you love.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone six months and older get an annual flu shot. 

Health officials urge frequent hand-washing to prevent the spread of germs, and ask people experiencing symptoms to avoid contact with others until at least 24 hours after fever is gone.

Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Certain populations — including young children, the elderly, those with existing medical conditions and compromised immune systems — are more susceptible to serious complications from the flu. 

Flu shots are also available at the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, area pharmacies, and physician offices. Find a nearby location at cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/flu-finder-widget.html.

Contact Lauren Lindstrom at llindstrom@theblade.com, 419-724-6154, or on Twitter @lelindstrom.

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