Deaths on the rise: Flu continues to take hold in Oklahoma

BRIGHTON, CO - APRIL 30: A health worker prepares a flu shot for a Mexican farm worker at a mobile clinic on a farm on April 30, 2013 in Brighton, Colorado. Salud family Health Centers sends a mobile clinic to farms throughout northeastern Colorado to serve the migrant population, many of whom have little access to health care, a major issue in health care reform proposals. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Sooner State continues to be affected by the flu this season as deaths continue to rise.

On Thursday, the Oklahoma State Department of Health announced the flu has claimed the lives of 21 Oklahomans and led to more than 522 hospitalizations statewide. 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.

Experts say 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.
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