Summit County Public Health reports 5 deaths as flu continues to spread

Daisy Smith 11 third from left helped raised thousands for charity

Health Minister John Haggie says a potentially less-than-perfect flu vaccine doesn't mean people should skip their flu vaccine this year.

All across the state, health agencies are reporting increased emergency room visits, hospitalizations and positive flu tests.

Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino and state epidemiologist Dr. Matthew Carter held a news conference Friday morning, said flu season could continue for another four to six weeks and called on residents who have not gotten flu vaccines to get vaccinated. "Getting vaccinated now will still offer protection from serious disease, hospitalization and death for most of the flu season".

If you haven't gotten your flu shot yet, officials say it is not too late.

But high emergency room volumes and filled hospital beds are "not uncommon" for this point during flu season, which runs from October to May, said Lara Anton of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

This strain can be particularly hard on the very young, people over age 65, or those with existing medical conditions.

Influenza can be prevented or its severity diminished with the flu vaccine.

The peak of flu season is typically in February.

"Influenza vaccine is still available and people can still get immunized".

To be effective, the drugs must be taken in 12 to 48 hours from onset of symptoms, which include cough, muscle aches and fever. We are also asking that anyone visiting other hospitals across the area that it is limited to two visitors per patients, children under the age of 16 are not brought in to visit patients and anyone with flu or respiratory symptoms are advised to stay away.

Medical professionals are encouraging anyone 6 months and older who hasn't had a flu shot to get one. Preliminary estimates suggested the vaccine barely worked there, and the US was again facing the same H3N2 virus with the same flu shot.

If you get the flu, stay home and rest so you don't spread it to other people. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. The strain tends to hit younger and older people harder than others.

ยท Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

Alcohol based gels are the next best thing if you don't have access to soap and water. "Just a little bit of extra distance between you and another person can be the difference between you getting sick or you getting someone else sick", said Mitchell.

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