Health officials: Flu deaths rise in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY – One more Oklahoman has died as a result of the flu virus, health department officials say.

On Thursday, the Oklahoma State Department of Health announced that the flu has claimed the lives of 36 Oklahomans and led to more than 1,347 hospitalizations statewide. Most of the deaths occurred in patients who were over the age of 65.

Last week, health experts announced that one child has also succumbed to the virus.

“Young children are among those most at risk for serious illness and death from influenza, so healthy individuals who get a flu shot are helping to protect those who cannot take a flu shot, including infants under the age of 6 months,” said OCCHD Executive Director Gary Cox. “Another benefit to getting the flu vaccine is that if you do by chance get the flu, your illness will be much milder than if you had not received a vaccine.”

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

Although health data suggests that this flu is much less severe than it was last year, the virus is still causing issues for some Oklahoma communities.

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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