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      Ohio Dept. of Health warns flu activity on the rise

      <font size="2">The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) says the flu season is ramping up in Ohio.</font>

      Flu activity is on the rise in Ohio but residents can still protect themselves by getting a vaccine, according to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).

      â??The flu virus will be less likely to spread if more people are vaccinated,â?? said ODH Director, Dr. Ted Wymyslo. â??Immunization has proven to be the safest and most effective way to fight the flu so I encourage all Ohioans to get vaccinated. Moreover, it takes two weeks to build up immunity after receiving the vaccine, which is another reason to get immunized as soon as possible.â??

      ODH officials say that, this flu season, the state has experienced minimal influenza-like illness activity when compared to other parts of the country.

      So far, 338 influenza-associated hospitalizations have been reported to ODH and most were reported in northeast Ohio.

      ODH adds that most of the flu circulating is H1N1, which is included in this year's vaccine.

      Officials say the flu vaccine is available at most healthcare providersâ?? offices, local health departments and retail pharmacy chains.

      For those who do not plan to get the vaccine, ODH recommends the washing of hands or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

      Residents are also encouraged to cover coughs and sneezes with tissues or by coughing or sneezing into elbows.

      Avoiding the touching of the eyes, nose and mouth; and staying home when sick will also help a person stay flu free.