Flu season worse than usual, experts say

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) - Experts are urging people to get their flu shots as this flu season is worse than usual.

"We usually do see a surge around this time, but we have been seeing a lot more cases than we would usually see," Lacey Hill, nurse practitioner with MinuteClinic at CVS, said.

She says there's no clear reason why there might be an uptick. Flu symptoms like body aches, fever and coughing come on suddenly, whereas cold symptoms appear gradually.

Hillary Biggerstaff says she's experiencing flu symptoms.

"Sore throat, upset stomach, the shakes, chills, fever, all that fun stuff," she said.

Just in the past week, more than 200 Oklahomans have been hospitalized because of the flu. The season's death toll is 20.

Experts say it's important to get a flu shot not only to protect yourself, but also those around you.

"Even young healthy people, [the flu] can be fatal," Hill said. "We also get our flu shots to protect the elderly, to protect the very little children who can't get flu shots until they're six months old."

If your kids are sick or have a fever, keep them home from school.

"Children are at higher risk. They like to share those germs, definitely try to stress hand washing with the little ones, teaching them how to cover their coughs, not to share any drinks, try to wash those big jackets, wipe down backpacks," Hill said.

Flu season typically subsides in February, but it's not too late to get a flu shot.

"My mom has been telling me to get the flu shot multiple times and, well, should've listened. Always listen to your mom," Biggerstaff said.

The Oklahoma City-County Health Department offers free flu shots. Click here for more information.

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