Flu season hits early, hard in Texas

Ohio Department of Health reports first child flu death of season

ODH also reports 1,750 new confirmed flu-associated hospitalizations in OH during the first week of January, a significant increase over 925 reported during the last week of December.

There have been 3,854 total flu-associated hospitalizations in OH since flu season began last October, according to ODH.

The 2016-2017 influenza season was the worst on record in Oregon, according to statistics from the Oregon Health Authority - and so far, this year's numbers are even higher.

The health department said a one-year-old boy from Lucas County, Ohio has died from the flu.

Arizona is among 26 states that the federal Centers for Disease Control said have high flu activity, with widespread activity reported in 46 states. More than 400 people have died from the flu around the country.

If you experience flu-like symptoms, stay home 24-48 hours after symptoms resolve, unless you are seeking medical care.

Getting a flu shot is the best preventative measure and it's never too late, Scherzer added.

Healthy lifestyle habits can also protect you from seasonal illness.

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"Everybody should get their flu vaccination and try to avoid contact with people who may be sick", Manrique said.

"It's safe to say that we are now experiencing a flu outbreak and these three voluntarily reported flu-related deaths reflect that", said Chief Epidemiologist Russell Jones.

"Normally in a season, we'll see a peak of influenza A happening some time towards the end of December or through January", Murti said. OH does not have a flu shot shortage.

The Department of Health Services said getting vaccinated is the most effective protection against the flu.

Anyone who is particularly at risk - including the elderly and those with heart and/or lung conditions - should seek immediate medical attention if they show flu-like symptoms.

People exhibiting symptoms of the flu are encouraged to first call or visit their primary care providers or urgent care clinics.

"The biggest thing is that if we are asking those people to stay home if you're having any signs of coughing, sneezing, fever, diarrhea, runny nose, and any of those under the age of 14 just to refrain from visiting our facility at this time", said Cory Unverferth, Manager of Infection Prevention for Mercy Health St. Rita's.

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