Should you get a second flu shot? Myths and tips for tackling the illness

EDMOND, Okla. - This week, we've reported on schools closing due to illness and how the flu is affecting folks in Oklahoma, but how should you go about tackling it?

There are many myths, little-known facts and questions - for instance, should you get more than one flu shot?

Also, on the winter days when the weather keeps folks inside, what should you do?

The first step is finding out what exactly you or those around you have come down with.

"I would say, if you feel like you've been hit by a truck, you probably have the flu," said Dr. Melinda Cail with Primary Health Partners in Edmond. "That is one diagnostic tool that I use that seems to kind of pan out every single time."

Cail is beyond familiar with the "Is it the flu or another virus?" game. Though she's seen several cases in her office, she said it does seem the shot is working a bit better this year.

"I've seen some statistics that say it's as high as 60 percent effective which is way better than last year's shot which was 25 percent effective," she said.

That's good news because, in the last few years, the flu has devastated Oklahoma.

From September of 2017 to May of 2018, the Oklahoma State Department of Health said 285 people died from the flu in Oklahoma. More than 4,700 were hospitalized.

Now, since September of last year, 25 people have died. A little more than 900 have been hospitalized.

With numbers like those, you may wonder if you should take extra precautions - like, perhaps, another flu shot.

Cail said, according to the CDC, the flu shot is still good for the entire year, including the entirety of the flu season, but she still has seen people get more than one.

"It's not going to hurt you to get another flu shot, but the research hasn't really panned out to show that it's more effective," she said.

We've seen some schools close their doors recently due to illness.

But, what's the solution to keeping your kids safe? Some said you should wash your clothes as soon as they get home, but is that going to help?

"We don't really think a flu is being transmitted by inanimate objects but, if you wanted to get home and change your kids' clothes, it certainly wouldn't be a bad thing to do, but it might be a little bit overkill, though," Cail said.

With the schools closing for illness - along with the winter weather - a lot of folks are in close quarters right now.

Cail said keeping your space from anyone who doesn't feel well is key. She also recommends antiviral drugs like Tamiflu to help prevent the illness.

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