Experts: Stay home from holiday gatherings if you have flu symptoms

OKLAHOMA CITY – While many families will be coming together for Thanksgiving, health officials say the flu is already spreading across the Sooner State.

On Wednesday, the Oklahoma State Department of Health reported that there have been 84 hospitalizations since the start of the flu season in September. Also, three people have died from the virus.

“It is important to stay home from holiday gatherings if you have symptoms of influenza which are fever, chills, body aches, and a cough or sore throat,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley. “It is better to miss out on some holiday fun than risk infecting others. Flu can be especially dangerous for pregnant women, young children, the elderly, and those who have underlying health conditions such as asthma and other lung diseases.”

Experts say flu activity will likely increase between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so the health department says there is still time to get a flu shot to avoid the illness.

Public health officials also recommend following these prevention tips:

  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle by eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and getting a full night’s rest.
  • Wash hands frequently using soap and water, or alcohol-based products such as hand gels when hands are not visibly soiled.
  • Use tissues to cover coughs and sneezes, then dispose of them and wash your hands immediately. When tissues are not readily available, cough into your sleeve, not your hands.
  • Stay home from work, school and other public places when feeling ill.