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Flu Hits Ohio After Holiday Festivities
COLUMBUS -- Health officials have reported an increase in flu activity in central Ohio and are encouraging people to get vaccinated.
Statewide, 338 influenza-associated hospitalizations have been reported. The Columbus Health Department said most of those patients were in northeast Ohio.
Officials say the spike in flu reports usually happens right after the holiday season, after families have been traveling and congregating in large groups.
"So the right time to get the flu shot is all throughout the winter," said Jose Rodriguez of CPH. "Get it as fast as you can. That way you'll be protected during the bad months."
It takes two weeks to build up immunity after receiving the vaccine, and reports of the sickness are most common from January through March.
"Influenza is a respiratory illness that can cause major body ache. You really can be down and out for a couple of weeks," Rodriguez said. "So it's a serious illness. You could end up in the hospital you could have severe complications."
He said the flu is often confused with a stomach bug. The difference is that the latter can include diarrhea and vomiting.
While the vaccine provides the greatest protection against the flu, it can be avoided by frequent hand washing, sneezing and coughing into elbows instead of hands, and staying home when sick.