Hospitals, schools prepare for rough flu season - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Hospitals, schools prepare for rough flu season

Local hospitals and schools are taking extra precautions for a rough flu season. (FOX19 NOW file) Local hospitals and schools are taking extra precautions for a rough flu season. (FOX19 NOW file)
St. Peter in Chains School in Hamilton is closed Wednesday due to illness. (FOX19 NOW) St. Peter in Chains School in Hamilton is closed Wednesday due to illness. (FOX19 NOW)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

Get ready for a rough flu season.

Local hospitals and some schools are now taking extra precautions.

St. Peter in Chains will be closed on Wednesday because too many students or faculty are sick.

The CDC released an advisory saying this season's vaccine may be less effective than normal based on the predominant virus strain this year, something that Steve Luebbe says wouldn't be surprising.

"I did have a flu shot and my children had flu shots but I guess it wasn't effective" said Mike Luebbe.

Luebbe says his children go to Saint Peters and both he and his son recently had the flu, and it took some time to recover.

"It was pretty bad but it took me about a week and a half," said Luebbe.

Flu cases needing extra medical attention seem to be off to a rapid start. According to the Ohio Department of Health, the number of influenza-like illnesses requiring hospitalization are significantly higher with more than 200 this year, compared to about 90 at this time last year...a trend that surpasses the four year average.

"We're beginning to see them just start to tick up as we speak. It hasn't hit heavy season yet but we're anticipating a certain rise in cases very shortly," said Mike Samet with Hamilton County Public Health.

Hospitals in the Tri-State are even limiting visitors because of an increase in respiratory illnesses.

"Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands, you can't wash your hands enough, when you cough or sneeze do so into the crook of your arm and then wash your hands again to keep the germs off your hands and keep from spreading to others," said Samet.

Back in the classroom, Luebbe says it appears about 20 percent of St. Peter in Chains has some sort of illness, and he agrees with siding on the safe side.

"I think they have the controls in place. I believe children aren't supposed to be able to go to school if they have a temperature over 100 degrees so I think they have the precautions in place," said Luebbe.

The CDC says the biggest spike in cases of the flu are in January and February. So even if you haven't gotten a flu shot, experts say it can still be effective.

[RELATED: Tri-State hospitals limiting visitation due to flu, whooping cough]

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