OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) - The Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma City-County Health Department, and Tulsa Health Department are warning Oklahomans to take this year's flu seriously as the CDC predicts this year's virus is particularly unusual and is expected to be severe.
The worst of the flu season may still be ahead as flu activity across Oklahoma has ramped up significantly just two weeks into the new year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the predominant influenza strain circulating nationally is B/Victoria, which is unusual for this time of year.
An increase in influenza B circulation is being observed in Oklahoma as well.
Health officials say the number of flu deaths and hospitalizations across the state is on the rise.
Oklahomans who haven’t received a vaccine yet should make it a priority as soon as possible.
"The vaccine is one of the most important things we all can do for ourselves and/or our children to protect against the flu and/or reduce complications from the flu."
If you have flu-like symptoms (fever or feeling feverish with chills; cough; sore throat; runny or stuffy nose; muscle or body aches), seek medical attention and then stay home to recover for at least 24 hours after the fever goes away, without the use of fever-reducing medications.
Avoid all public places, including work, school and group events during this time.
"Staying home protects those around you, especially infants under the age of six months and adults with compromised immune systems who can develop severe complications if they are exposed to the influenza virus."
And don't forget to wash your hands!