High Number of Flu Cases at Cottage Health Hospitals

3 children have died from the flu in Tennessee       /AP

According to the Ohio Department of Health, the state had 925 new hospitalizations for flu last week.

He said: 'We know from the PHE publications that previous year, the effectiveness of the conventional influenza vaccines in the over-65s was not apparent.

Hospitals in East Tennessee are seeing an increase in flu cases.

Prof Keith Willett, NHS England's medical director for acute care, said children were "super-spreaders" and the flu season "traditionally reaches its peak" at Christmas.

She did not have the total number of flu cases in La Salle County, but said there have been no reportable flu-related deaths.

In an effort to prevent the spread of flu and provide care to those patients who are experiencing extreme illness and life-threatening conditions, Cottage Health is asking people to avoid coming to the emergency department unless they are suffering from serious symptoms or complications.

Doctors blame an aggressive strain of the influenza virus, H3N2, and a flu vaccine that's proven to be only about 30 percent effective against it.

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Department epidemiologist Gregg Reed says the flu can be more severe for the elderly, children and people with weakened immune systems. These categories are persons who are age 6 months to 4 years; ages 65 and older; or have chronic disorders such as asthma, chronic lung disease, heart disease, kidney disorders, liver disorders, neurological and neurodevelopment conditions, blood disorders, endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus) or metabolic disorders.

"Sometimes, the variation doesn't go the way we think it's going to", explained Rogers, "so it doesn't offer as much of a protection as we would like".

"It's not too late, and we have plenty of vaccine", Buchanan said.

Even though this year's vaccine might not be foolproof, doctors say it's still the best defense.

"If you have symptoms of the flu, stay home", Rogers stressed.

Wearing masks or covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.

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