Health officials: 13 Oklahomans have died from the flu

OKLAHOMA CITY – Health officials in Oklahoma County say a local resident had died from the flu.

On Thursday, the Oklahoma State Department of Health reported the first influenza-associated death in Oklahoma County for the 2018-2019 flu season.

So far, the flu has claimed the lives of 13 Oklahomans and led to 331 hospitalizations statewide, according to the Oklahoma City-County Health Department. Most of the deaths occurred in patients who were over the age of 65.

Health department officials say residents in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Cleveland counties are dealing with the highest number of hospitalizations related to the flu.

Oklahoma City-County Health Department Executive Director Gary Cox says this flu season isn’t as severe as last, and flu shots are still encouraged for everyone over 6-months-old.

“There is still time to get a free flu shot before the flu season peaks as individuals who get the flu vaccine are not only protecting themselves, but family members, and even co-workers,” said Cox. “The flu vaccine can keep you from getting the flu, make the illness less severe if you do get it, and keep you from spreading the virus.”

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.