OKLAHOMA CITY – Christmas is just around the corner, which means there will be a lot of families getting together to celebrate the holidays. In addition to spreading love and joy, health experts warn you might also be spreading the flu virus.
On Thursday, the Oklahoma State Department of Health announced that seven people have died from the flu since Sept. 1. According to health department data, all but one of the deaths occurred in patients who were at least 65-years-old. The other patient who died from the virus was between 50-years-old and 64-years-old.
So far, 152 people have been hospitalized because of the flu virus.
Health department data shows that most of the patients were from Tulsa County as 39 people were hospitalized there. Oklahoma County had the second most hospitalizations with 10, followed by Bryan County with nine.
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.
Symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, muscle aches, cough, congestion, runny nose, headaches and fatigue.
Public health officials 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.