CLEVELAND (WJW) — Health officials warn this flu season is already showing signs that it will be worse than in recent, previous years.
Thursday, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health confirmed a 13-year-old boy died of the flu. Additional details surrounding his death were not shared.
Doctors advise families to get vaccinated against the flu. The CDC lists Ohio influenza activity as “high” second only to “very high” activity.
“If we look at our southern neighbors, their flu numbers are doing this, it’s like a straight line up,” said UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Amy Edwards pointing up with her hand. “The early indications are, we’re kind of in for it, which is not fun.”
The early increase of the flu is hitting right as RSV, a respiratory illness that can be severe is already peaking in children and pushing some hospitals to capacity.
“What we’re a little bit worried about is that we’re already tired,” Edwards said. “RSV came early. It’s making a massive peak. Our emergency rooms, our urgent care centers, our hospital floors are completely overrun, our ICU is overrun and now influenza is coming up.”
Young children and the elderly are most at risk for severe flu illness. Edwards said the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent serious infection and ease the burden on an already taxed healthcare system.
“We have less capacity as a medical system and now we’re having bad RSV and we’re about to have a bad flu season,” Edwards said. “I just don’t see it going anywhere good. So, the more people who are vaccinated against influenza to keep them out of our hospitals, the better it is for everybody.”