AKRON  Summit County Public Health (SCPH) warns Summit County residents that the flu is widespread across Ohio as well as 46 other states. The typical flu season lasts from October through May. Summit County has had five deaths (4 adults and 1 pediatric) from the flu so far this season; compared to 10 adult deaths during the entire flu season last year. The CDC estimates that each year around 36,000 people die from flu.

Symptoms of flu can include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses so it is important to know the difference. If you or a family member has a respiratory illness, contact your medical provider for evaluation.

It is still not too late to get your flu vaccination. Flu vaccinations are still available at most healthcare providers’ offices and retail pharmacies. There are currently no vaccine shortages in Ohio.

Other ways to avoid getting or spreading the flu include washing hands frequently; covering coughs and sneezes with tissues; coughing or sneezing into elbows; avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth; and staying home when sick and until fever-free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication. Persons with flu like symptoms should not visit patients in hospitals or nursing homes. For more information on flu, visit www.flu.ohio.gov or www.scphoh.org.