5 1 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

CLEVELAND -- The end of January usually starts the peak of the flu season, but in the last three weeks the flu has killed eight local people, five of whom were between ages 45 and 59.

So far this season, the flu has claimed a total of nine, and it's due to an old enemy. Health experts say it is H1N1, the same swine flu we battled four years ago.

Richard Stacklin, an epidemiologist for the county Health Department, has personal experience with swine flu.

"It was miserable. I started feeling hot, starting to sweat then I started getting cramps. I started getting chills, and I was in bed for 24 straight hours," says Stacklin.

The virus can be deadly and is nothing like the average cold.

"(It is) a hundred times worse than that. It's anything you can imagine about a simple cough or a little bit of fatigue. It knocks people out, and it really makes them not want to be out, not wanting to live to be honest," says Stacklin.

Symptoms of the virus include a sudden onset fever, headache, nonproductive cough, sore throat, stuffy nose and aches and pains.

"It just feels like you've been in a car accident a hundred times over or like you've been beaten with a baseball bat," says Stacklin.

This strain tends to attack middle-aged people, unlike the normal flu that tends to attack kids and the elderly.

"The middle-aged population between 40 to 59 years old accounts for 54 percent of all flu related hospitalizations this flu season," according to Stacklin.

While nine deaths is tragic, last year's season claimed 21 lives, and health experts don't expect us to hit that high of a number this year.

There is still time to get your flu shot, and to find a place close, click HERE.

5 1 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://on.wkyc.com/1fdyzse