ODH issued a media advisory in mid-December noting that the geographic spread of flu activity in Ohio for the 2017-18 flu season had been elevated to “widespread,” the highest level. During last year’s flu season, flu activity in Ohio wasn’t classified as widespread until mid-January. New flu-associated hospitalizations have increased sharply from 228 during Week 50 (Dec. 10-16) to 554 during Week 51 (Dec. 17-23), to 925 during Week 52 (Dec. 24-30), to 1,750 during Week 1 (Dec. 31-Jan. 6) of 2018. Ohio has reported 3,857 total flu-associated hospitalizations and three flu-associated pediatric deaths so far during the 2017-18 flu season. Adult flu-associated deaths are not required to be reported to public health. ODH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that everyone six months and older get a flu shot as soon as possible as vaccination is the best protection against seasonable flu viruses. “No vaccine is 100 percent effective but there are many reasons to get a flu vaccination,” said ODH Medical Director Dr. Clint Koenig. “Flu vaccination prevents millions of illnesses and tens of thousands of flu-related hospitalizations each year in the U.S. It also can reduce the severity of the flu if you do get sick.” More information about flu and flu activity in Ohio is available at flu.ohio.gov.