Flu season takes toll in Ohio, Pennsylvania - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Flu season takes toll in Ohio, Pennsylvania

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Flu season has officially ended in the United States, leaving 256 deaths behind in Pennsylvania and resulting in 17,397 hospitalizations in Ohio.

Included in those hospitalizations were 973 cases reported in the Valley.

There were 445 flu-related hospitalizations in Mahoning County, 363 in Trumbull County, and 165 in Columbiana County during the 20-week long season which ended on May 19th.

The Ohio Department of Health linked the deaths of four children to the influenza outbreak. In Pennsylvania, there were six pediatric deaths.

After a record-setting flu season in Pennsylvania where more than 121,300 cases were recorded, Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said residents to realize the dangers of the virus.

"The flu is a disease that can leave people sick for days, but can also be serious, and even deadly for vulnerable Pennsylvanians," Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. "Getting an annual flu vaccine remains the most effective way to protect your health and the health of those around you. In addition, it is essential to wash your hands frequently and protect yourself and loved ones from the flu."

In Pennsylvania, 256 people died from the flu, the highest recorded number, and 100 more than the 2016-2017 flu season. 

The flu was particularly bad in Pennsylvania during January and February, with nearly 15,000 cases reported in one week in February. For five consecutive weeks, the number of reported cases in each week exceeded 10,000.

Influenza is a contagious disease, caused by the influenza virus. It attacks the nose, throat, and lungs and may include the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Dry cough
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Body aches

The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each year. Everyone six months of age and older should get the flu vaccine each season, ideally in October before the season begins. It takes about two weeks for the antibodies from the vaccine to develop protection against infection.

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