By Brittany Cook
With hospitalizations and deaths occurring in Toledo and the surrounding areas due to the flu, Seneca County residents are maintaining their health during the flu season.
According to the Ohio Department of Health website, seasonal influenza causes fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches.
The season can last from October to March.
The Red Cross offers the following tips on influenza:
Stay home if sick.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Cover the nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If that's not possible, cough or sneeze into the elbow, not the hands. People with the flu can spread it to others about 6 feet away through coughs and sneezes.
Wash hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand-rub.
Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth.
"If someone has the flu they should avoid contact with others as much as possible," said Todd James, executive director of the American Red Cross of Hancock, Seneca and Wyandot Counties. "Everyone should also disinfect surfaces used commonly such as door knobs, switches, phones, computers and remote controls."
More information about influenza and how to help stop the spread of the flu virus is available at www.redcross.org/hancock.
The flu usually lasts one to two weeks.
Seneca County General Health District Commissioner Marjorie Broadhead said the county has had three hospitalizations from the flu and no deaths.
This number does not count the amount of cases from local physicians, she said.
Catrina Fiske, a nurse with Dipakkumar Amin's office, said they are seeing more cases of illness, but not of the flu.
She said vaccines are still available at their office.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention advised everyone older than 6 months to receive a flu shot.
Those specifically at risk are pregnant women, children, the elderly, people with chronic medical conditions, people in long-term care facilities and people who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from the flu.
Broadhead said the health district is out of vaccines, but many local businesses are still providing them.
The ODH website also suggests washing hands regularly, eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated and exercising regularly to help prevent getting the flu.