DELPHOS - ‘Tis the season for sickness, but while there have been many cases, there have fortunately not been any costs.

The Health Departments for Allen, Putnam, and Van Wert County have not reported any fatalities related to influenza, despite its spreading influence.

In Allen County especially, health officials are seeing higher numbers.

“From the end of September through Dec. 22, there have been 19 influenza associated hospitalizations,” Allen County Epidemiologist Rebecca Brooks revealed. “Our current rate of flu-associated hospitalization per 100,000 residents is 17.87.”

For the State of Ohio, the rate of hospitalizations is 5.34, making Allen County’s rate over three times the state average, although Brooks also acknowledged that the larger cities are at about 22 per 100,000.

Population is a definite factor considering Putnam County reported only five hospitalized cases and Van Wert County reported zero.

What remains to be said is if there are other factors contributing to Allen County’s higher rate.

“We’re still not quite clear,” Brooks explained, “There’s been more influenza B than A.”

A and B are different viruses that can cause the flu and there are different strains of each.

“The CDC will pick the strain that they think will be the biggest threat and develop a vaccine around that,” she stated.

There were different vaccines offered this year. One contained two strains of virus A and one strain of virus B. Another vaccine contained strains of both viruses.

The Van Wert County Director of Nursing, Kathy Will, RN, noted that they were seeing more influenza-like illness in the county before mentioning that vaccines are still available.

The CDC’s advice for preventing the spread of the flu has remained consistent: avoid contact with sick people, stay home when sick, cover your mouth and nose, wash your hands and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Extra healthy habits to ward off sickness include: disinfect frequently-touched surfaces, get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of water and eat nutritious foods.