Blessing Hospital reports increase in flu cases

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The flu is hitting the Tri-States hard so far in the New Year.

Blessing Hospital says flu numbers are up from last year.

Since January 1, Blessing has cared for 32 inpatients and outpatients who tested positive for influenza A and B.

Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, headache, and sore throat.

The flu can be fatal for someone whose immune system is already weakened enough to be hospitalized.

Carleen Orton is the Infection Control Coordinator for Blessing Hospital, and said this time of year is usually when they see flu numbers increase.

"It's the time of year where we expect to see the flu numbers increase," Orton said. "January, usually around the first of February is when there's a peak. About two weeks ago we had a high number of patients coming into the emergency department, patients being admitted, and that's when we had most of those positive tests."

Orton also said the flu can often stick around until April or even May, and that it's never too late to get a flu shot.

Orton also said the best thing you can do for a friend or a loved one in the hospital, and yourself, is stay away from visiting them if you have reason to believe you have the flu.