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      Flu cases rise sharply in December

      There were 16 confirmed flu cases in Lucas County hospitals in December. Comparatively there was just one flu case in December 2011 and 3 in December 2010. Patti Fraker, an epidemiologist with the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, says flu outbreaks vary year to year. "Every year the flu season varies and this year it is quite early; usually we see our peak in February and March," Ms. Fraker said.

      Symptoms of the flu include: fever or chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches and headaches. The Centers for Disease Control advises that the flu virus spreads mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Toledo resident Tracey Loo saysshe and several members of her family got the flu in late December. "I was out for almost two weeks, my son-in law has missed work, it's been bad," Ms. Loo said.

      Dr. Brian Kaminski of Toledo Hospital says it is not too late to get the flu vaccine. "It's not too late to get the flu shot if you have not had the flu, so be sure and talk to your doctor," Dr. Kaminski said.