OKLAHOMA CITY – Health officials have confirmed the first deaths in Oklahoma due to the flu. Now, medical professionals are wondering what that means for the 2018-19 flu season.
“This one hit me like a truck,” said Edmond resident Andrew Brooks, talking about his first run-in with the flu in over 20 years. “Deep congestion, sinus headache, lethargic, loss of appetite, coughing.”
Brooks is not alone. Hundreds of Oklahomans are now suffering from the influenza virus.
The state health department confirms 56 Oklahomans have been hospitalized and two have died.
“Losing two people here in Oklahoma already is very concerning,” said nurse practitioner Michelle Merrell.
Last year was the worst flu season in the last 40 years in the U.S. Almost 80,000 died from the flu across the country.
“Of course, we are concerned that we are going to have another really bad year and, then, hearing that two people have lost their lives, it’s very concerning,” Merrell said.
The two confirmed deaths are both over 65.
Last year’s flu hit the young and the old hard.
Merrell said it’s hard to predict what 2018 will bring.
“We never know what kind of stain we are going to get, so it’s hard to say if this is going to be a bad year,” she said.
Now, Brooks is part of the National Guard. He got the vaccine last month but still got sick.
Medical officials still say to get the vaccine.
Remember to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and to stay home when you are stick. That’s how Brooks said he was infected – at his children’s field trip to a science museum.
“There is a handful of parents that got the flu, so we can all assume it was there,” he said.
“The flu is extremely contagious. The best thing you can do is to sequester yourself if you’ve got it and just wait til it passes,” Merrell said.
Officials said, if your symptoms don’t go away in seven-10 days, to seek medical attention.