OKLAHOMA CITY – The flu is already wreaking havoc on some Oklahoma communities this season.
Experts say that 27 people had to be hospitalized within the last week due to the flu virus, bringing the total number of hospitalizations to 179.
“The number of flu cases is relatively high for this time of year, and public health officials are concerned there will be a high risk of spreading the flu during the holiday season. The highest number of flu-related hospitalizations has occurred among those who are older than 50 years of age, as well as children younger than 5, which are both groups at greater risk of experiencing severe illness and complications due to flu,” the health department said in a statement on Nov. 30.
So far, officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health say that four people have died from the virus since September.
This week, a Yukon elementary school was forced to close its doors after 115 students and 10 teachers called in sick.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say you should be vigilant with washing your hands, avoid touching your eyes and mouth, get plenty of sleep and eat healthy to help give your immune system a boost. Also, experts suggest getting the flu shot.
“Getting the flu is an awful experience. Getting it during the holiday season is even worse,” said Chakravarty. “So if you need to be out and about running errands and meeting up with friends and family, it’s wise to protect yourself–and them–as best you can.”
Doctors say a typical flu season in Oklahoma usually runs from October to May.
If you get sick, look out for severe aches and pains in your muscles and joints, notable fatigue and weakness, headaches and a high fever.
If you are experiencing those symptoms, call a doctor as soon as possible. Experts also say you should not go to work or school if you have a fever.