Doctors React To High Number Of Flu Cases This Year

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Some doctors call this flu season an epidemic, as a result of a record high number of flu hospitalizations this year.

Forty-eight states, including Ohio, have reported flu hospitalizations this year.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, flu hospitalizations have increased this year, with 586 reported cases this week compared to only five reported cases at the same time last year.

John Kemerer, the medical director at Ohio University's Campus Care, said the high number of cases is actually normal for flu season, but is higher than last year's figure because the season started earlier in 2013.

"The flu generally starts at the end of January or the beginning of February. This year, it peaked weeks earlier," he said.

Experts say you can detect the flu in its early stage by doing a nasal swab test, but the best way to prevent the flu is through a flu vaccination.

The Athens Health Department said there's been a high demand for the flu shot this year, and they've provided 2,500 more shots this year than last year. Some health centers and pharmacies have even reported being completely sold out of the shots.

Doctors say that even when a person gets the flu vaccine, 38 percent of those vaccinated will still contract the flu.