Ask the Expert: How do I protect against the flu?

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Flu experts at Saint Elizabeth Healthcare said people were experiencing widespread activity as was the rest of the country.

The number of states showing that jumped from 29 to 37 in the last week of January and the CDC said there were three additional pediatric deaths from the flu. Being in homes for Super Bowl parties could raise risks for the flu spreading mainly through hands. Hospitals and healthcare settings have been asking people to use extra precautions against it for weeks.

Jerri Abramis with Saint Elizabeth Healthcare infection prevention said, "We are constantly monitoring it to see what's going on with seasonal flu."

Seasonal flu was at an all-time high, Ohio was one of the states reporting widespread activity. The Northern Kentucky Health Department saw a spike in actual cases, which it tracks, and the Hamilton County Health Department, which tracks flu activity such as medications to treat symptoms and emergency room visits, saw the rise as well.

Coughing, sneezing, and respiratory symptoms hit suddenly with the flu. A main concern is as people travel from home to home and it gets cold and people stay indoors, people will continue to see the virus spread rapidly.

If people want to try and protect against it, and if they see early warning signs in the very young and the very old, they may need to know when to seek medical care. The flu can lead to serious breathing complications.

Food preparation for Super Bowl parties could be an easy way for the virus to spread according to family medicine experts at Saint Elizabeth Healthcare.

Dr. Mary Ann Barnes said, "So if a little bit of the virus is on a persons hands and they prepare food they can decimate it to like everybody that ate that food."

People should wash their hands and keep them off their faces if they want to reduce the odds of getting sick. It's not just those who prepare food that can give out the flu but also just like touching things and then not washing hands before eating.

The vaccine against the flu so far does appear to be a good match and it's not too late to get it. Cases can spike through March or April and experts say they have not seen what appears to be the flu peak yet.

CLICK HERE to ask your questions for providers at Saint Elizabeth Healthcare

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