Cuyahoga County health experts: Flu cases expected to increase

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CLEVELAND -- We are at a point in the flu season where health experts say we will start to see more and more cases develop across the country and in Cuyahoga County, there's no exception.

So far this season dozens of people have been hospitalized in our area and there have been two flu-related deaths.

Analysts at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health said even though this year is far slower than last year, it doesn’t mean the flu season is going to be any less severe.

“It’s too early to say if it’s going to be moderate or severe. It does seem to appear that flu is hitting earlier in Cuyahoga County and nationally it used to hit in February, March. But the trend the last several years, it has been hitting in December and January," said data analyst Richard Stacklin.

Stacklin said in just the past two weeks the number of people going to urgent cares and emergency rooms with flu-like symptoms has doubled, which is still less than this time last year.

However, that's an indication that flu season is starting to pick up.

"The number of hospitalizations compared to last five years or hundred under people be admitted to the hospital due to flu in the last two weeks," Stacklin explained.

Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic have also seen an uptick in the number of people coming in and being hospitalized for the flu or complications from the flu.

They argue that as the flu season continues its annual build-up, getting the flu shot is more important than ever.

"Everybody six months of age and older needs to get a flu shot. I can’t stress that enough. That is really the best way to protect against the flu. It’s not a perfect vaccine. It’s not 100% effective and varies from year-to-year, but it looks like there’s going to be very good matches this year. Because the flu hasn’t peaked yet, this is a really good time to go out and get your flu shot," said Dr. Camille Sabella with the Cleveland Clinic.

**More on fighting the flu, here**

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