TOLEDO (WTOL) - It’s flu season. But so far, cases of the illness are down at about half of what we saw last year.

The Toledo Lucas County Health Department is reporting they expect those numbers to start climbing back up.

Lucas County has 53 confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations since October. This time last year, that number was more than doubled at 97.

Leaders at the Health Department attribute some of those numbers to the flu shot working effectively.

Warmer than usual weather is also a factor.

“I encourage everybody to do the things that we’ve talked about for years. Go get your flu vaccination, go ahead and make sure that you exercise, you stay healthy, you eat right, you get plenty of sleep, you do those things that help keep yourself healthy so that we don’t have a flu problem here in our community,” Lucas County Health Commissioner, Eric Zgodzinski said.

The Health Department offers a few more tips to help keep you and your family healthy:

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, try to avoid spreading your germs.
  • If you have a fever, don’t leave the house for 24 hours, you could get sicker or infect others.
  • Have a well person disinfect surfaces.
  • Try to avoid touching your nose and mouth, and if you use a tissue, throw it out right away.
  •  Wash your hands.

It can be difficult to tell the difference between a cold, a flu or something worse, such as a gastrointestinal issue like what we consider to be the “stomach flu” or the now viral norovirus.

If you have a high fever, are feeling like you’re not getting better or like you need to see a doctor right away, go in and get checked out.

Mohamad Moussa, M.D. is an emergency room physician at Toledo ProMedica Hospital and said they’ve been seeing extra traffic recently.

“Given that we’re the largest ER, we’re always busy, but yes, there is a lot of flu and flu-like illness that is coming into the emergency department, and there’s been an uptick since October," he said.

Dr. Moussa said more than half of his patients have reported that they’ve received their flu shots this year.

If you haven't gone to get yours yet, there's still time.

Anyone in your household 6 months old or older is eligible, and it’s well stocked at local pharmacies.