Ohio Department of Health reports first child flu death of season

COLUMBUS, Ohio– The Ohio Department of Health released information about the state’s first child flu death of the season on Wednesday.

The victim was a 4-year-old boy from Montgomery County.

There were 1,750 new flu-associated hospitalizations in Ohio during the first week of January. That’s up from the 925 during the last week of December.

Flu season begins in October, and typically peaks between December and February.

“Flu is difficult to predict,” said Dr. Clint Koenig, Ohio Department of Health medical director. “It’s not possible to say precisely when this flu season will peak or end or how severe it will be. That’s why getting the flu vaccination is the safest and most effective way to prevent the flu for everyone 6 months and older. Flu vaccination also can reduce the severity of illness if you do get sick.”

In Cuyahoga County, there have been two flu-related deaths, including a 70-year-old woman.

The Ohio Department of Health said influenza A, or H3N2, is the most common virus this season. H3N2-dominant flu seasons are associated with more severe illness, especially among children and older adults. Vaccine effectiveness against H3N2 viruses has been around 30 percent.

Symptoms of the flu include fever, headache, cough, runny or stuffy nose, fatigue and muscle aches. The flu can lead to complications like pneumonia, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions.

More stories on the flu here