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Health officials: 153 Oklahomans have died from the flu, including child

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Health officials across the state are warning Oklahomans to take precautions against the flu after the virus led to the deaths of six people within the last week.

So far this year, officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health say that 153 people have died from the flu since September.

In all, 308  people had to be hospitalized within the last week due to the flu virus, bringing the total number of hospitalizations to 3,132.

Fortunately, data provided by the health department appears to indicate that we have already hit the peak of flu season.

Credit: Oklahoma State Department of Health

According to hospitalization numbers from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, residents in Oklahoma and Tulsa counties accounted for the most flu hospitalizations in the state.

Oklahoma County recorded 587 hospitalizations, while Tulsa County recorded 871 hospitalizations. The next closest county is Cleveland County, which recorded 224 hospitalizations this season.

Health reports state that almost all of the patients who died from the virus were over the age of 50.

New data shows that 17 of those who died from the flu were between the ages of 18-years-old and 49-years-old.

For the first time this season, health officials say a child between the ages of 5-years-old and 17-years-old also died from the flu.

Officials with the Oklahoma City-County Health Department say the first pediatric patient died in Oklahoma County, bringing the total number of deaths in Oklahoma County to 22.

The Oklahoma City-County Health Department says it is experiencing a higher number of flu cases than last year, so they are still offering free flu shots to residents.

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.

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.