Gallia’s ‘flu’ outlook

By Dean Wright -

GALLIA COUNTY — With the flu bug seemingly being spread among a number of individuals in the county, the Gallia County Health Department reports Ohio is actually at a minimum for viral activity in comparison to many other states.

According to information the health department obtained from the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Feb. 4 Ohio is ranked along with Montana, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Delaware for the lowest activity levels. According to a graph provided by the department titled 2016-17 influenza season weak 5 ending Feb. 4, 2017, major cases displaying flu-like symptoms are situated in the south of the country.

From September 2016 to print time, the health department reported 12 cases of influenza-related hospitalization. All reported hospitalizations must be reported to a local health department.

According to CDC statistics, 82.3 percent of positive lab results say Ohioans are carrying the A (H3) strain. Health department nurses say in comparison to the last five years, peak flu activity seems to have occurred a few months later than it typically would with a more regularly occurring peak in January, whereas peak season now is recorded in February. Between Jan. 15 and Feb. 12 a minimum of six people a day have visited an urgent care or other health provider in regards to flu-like symptoms. The week of Feb. 5 saw a peak of activity with around 15 individuals visiting a care provider in a day.

The department, through the 2016 and 2017 season, have given 3,786 flu vaccines so far. Health department nurses report that number has gradually eased back since 2008 with other flu shot options becoming available with other institutions as well as the national discussion on vaccines. Nurses recommended getting flu shots as it made an individual less likely to need to worry about calling into school or work sick.

Health experts recommend individuals always wash their hands and avoid contact with individuals sneezing or coughing. The typical flu season begins in October and ends in May.

Individuals over the age of 65 or infants and young children are the most susceptible to flu symptoms.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright