OKLAHOMA CITY – The flu continues to claim the lives of Oklahomans this flu season.
Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD) epidemiologists are cautioning residents to take every preventative step available now in the midst of rising numbers of hospitalizations and deaths due to influenza across the state and nation.
Across Oklahoma, there have been 23 deaths and 1022 hospitalizations due to flu. At least three of those deaths and 233 of those hospitalizations occurred in Oklahoma County for the 2017 – 2018 flu season.
Officials say most of the flu hospitalizations and deaths have been in the 65 and older demographic, followed by the 50-64 age group. In addition, the very young (0-4 years old) and school age children have been affected.
Nationally, there have been over 6500 hospitalizations this season due to flu. The 65 and older age group are most affected. Nearly 80% of confirmed flu cases are Type A, H3N2, with Type A, H1N1 and Type B, taking 10 percent (each) of the total cases.
With the peak period of flu cases yet to come, OCCHD offers this cautionary advice that all individuals six months and older should get a flu vaccination. Director of Public Health Phil Maytubby offers these tips for flu prevention:
- Get a flu shot to prevent or lessen symptoms.
- Good hand hygiene (wash with soap and water) and cover coughs and sneezes.
- Do not go to work sick and avoid exposing others when you are ill!
Officials advise you to get to the doctor within 48 hours of the onset of flu as they may prescribe antivirals which can effectively reduce the symptoms. OCCHD reminds the public that it takes about two weeks to be fully protected from the vaccine, so don’t wait to receive the flu shot.
Vaccines are still offered at 3 convenient clinic locations on a walk-in basis Mondays through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Fridays from 8:00 a.m. – noon
- OCCHD Gary Cox Partner Building – 2700 N.E. 63rd Street, OKC – 419-4200
- South Regional Health Campus – 2149 S.W. 59th Street, OKC – 419-4119
- OCCHD West Clinic – 4113 N.W. 10th Street, OKC – 419-4150