Patients fill local ERs with flu symptoms

TOLEDO, Oh (WTVG) - The flu is landing more people in the ER than usual.

"We're seeing quite a few more patients," Dr. Brian Kaminski, medical director of the emergency department at Toledo Hospital, said.

This time of year, he says he expects to see more patients testing positive for the virus. But he calls this year one of the bad ones. Even with the flu vaccine, he says people are still getting sick.

"This year doesn't look as good as years in the past," Kaminski said. "It's about 30% effective but it's still the best thing that we have."

Each year the formula for the vaccine is developed based on last year's flu virus. Simply put: sometimes the medical team gets it right and sometimes they don't.

This year, patients are fighting a strain of Influenza A.

"That's one that's actually a little bit more severe. People can get really sick with that and it's usually people over the age of 65 or younger than the age of 2," says Kaminski.

If you catch the virus after having the shot, it may not lessen your symptoms, but it will help stop the spread to others. Until the season is over Kaminski says, wash your hands, get the vaccine and call your doctor with any questions.

Since October, there have been 166 people hospitalized with the flu in Lucas County. According to the health department, half are over the age of 65 and most are women.

Doctors say the best line of defense against the virus is still the vaccine.