CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — As of Sept. 29, there have been 170 deaths associated with pneumonia in the city of Cleveland. There were no flu-related deaths between Sept. 29 and Jan. 4, according to a correction from the Cleveland Department of Public Health.
According to a release from the department, current flu activity is considered very high. It traditionally begins to increase in October and can last as late as May. Cases typically peak between December and February.
Influenza B is the predominant strain circulating this season and is associated with 73 percent of cases. Affected populations are substantially younger than in the previous five seasons. of those with known vaccination status, 59 percent of those with Influenza B were not vaccinated and 75 percent of those with Influenza A were not vaccinated.
According to the release, throughout the duration of flu season, the Cleveland Department of Public Health is offering flu shots at the Thomas McCafferty Health Center on Mondays from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (4242 Lorain Rd.) and the J. Glen Smith Health Center on Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Vaccinations are also widely available at health clinics, doctor’s offices and drug stores throughout the community.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses that can be spread by airborne droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. It causes mild to severe illness which can cause hospitalization or death. Symptoms of flu can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Because influenza is unpredictable and spreads each year with the timing, severity, and length of the flu season varying, the CDC states that getting a shot through the end of January is still effective.
Other effective ways to avoid getting or spreading the flu include:
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
- Staying home when sick
- Washing hands often or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Covering coughs and sneezes with tissues or coughing or sneezing into elbows
Editor’s note: The Cleveland Department of Health originally stated that as of Jan. 4, there were 273 deaths associated with pneumonia or flu reported in the city during this year’s flu season. The article above includes the department’s corrected statistics.