Flu cases are up significantly from last year, according to Kent County health officials. And in Ottawa County, they have seen an increase in hospitalizations from the flu.

Health departments are saying that the flu season hasn't even peaked yet.

Nationally, cases of the flu are hitting especially hard. Experts say they're seeing twice as many cases as compared to last year.

Ninety-five percent of the cases are the Influenza Type A virus, and the flu is always more severe in years where the Type A flu is circulating the most. That's because the flu vaccine is less effective against that strain.

The Type A virus can impact children and the elderly the most.

This year's flu vaccine is about 60% effective, and it's not too late to get it. The CDC recommends getting a vaccine as long as the flu viruses are spreading and making people sick.

Doctors are encouraging anyone who has not gotten a flu shot to get one.

There are measures parents can take to help their children avoid getting the virus in addition to getting a vaccine:

  • Have a healthy diet. Nutrients from fruit and vegetables can boost your child's immune system.
  • Sleep is important. Less sleep can weaken the immune system, and that goes for parents and children.
  • Guard against the spread of germs by washing hands frequently and sanitizing surfaces like counters, sink and door knobs.

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