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Influenza season has come early to the area

Pharmacist Raphael Lynne gives a flu shot in Miami in 2018. This year's vaccination against influenza has been reducing infections by "about 40 to 50 percent," says Emily Martin, an epidemiologist with the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
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Pharmacist Raphael Lynne gives a flu shot in Miami in 2018. This year's vaccination against influenza has been reducing infections by "about 40 to 50 percent," says Emily Martin, an epidemiologist with the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Influenza is here, and it's hitting hard. Most hospitalizations in Ohio are in the Cincinnati and Dayton areas. About 131 people in Ohio are hospitalized with the flu. Dayton has 55 cases, while Cincinnati has 35.

Tiffany Mattingly with the Health Collaborative says the season has started early.

“A few of these viruses including RSV have taken on kind of a different personality since COVID,” she says. “We’ve seen different seasonality with RSV. We saw a summer spike which is not something that we usually see. And then a much earlier surge of RSV versus the usual winter time frame.”

Mattingly says there are lots of theories on why the season has started early, but no definitive answers.

Mattingly says medical officials are urging people to get their flu shot. “There’s not a 100% coverage in any of the flu shots, and sometimes they hit the mark better than others. My understanding is this flu shot does have a pretty broad coverage and is doing a pretty good job covering the current strains that are circulating.”

Children's hospitals in Cincinnati and Dayton are getting slammed with patients who have either the flu, or RSV, respiratory syncytial virus. Mattingly says sick kids are inundating emergency rooms and inpatient appointments.

“The children’s hospitals really didn’t experience the surge during Omicron and the other subvariants of COVID as the adult hospitals did, so this is new territory for them. Something they haven’t seen in a long time. (They’ve) really have had some record-breaking days here within the past week or so.”

Mattingly says some, but not all, of the medical lessons from adult patients can be applied to children. She says while there isn't a vaccine for RSV, there is one for the flu, and it's approved for children.

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Rinehart has been a radio reporter since 1994 with positions in markets like Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio: and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.