OKLAHOMA CITY – Health officials say the number of flu related deaths continues to rise.
According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, nine Oklahomans have died and 517 have been hospitalized since flu season began in September.
Deaths have been reported in Carter County, Garfield County, Okfuskee County, Oklahoma County, Payne County and Stephens County.
According to OSDH, more than half of hospitalizations have occurred around individuals 65 years and older.
Health officials recommend the flu vaccination for anyone six months of age and older.
The following types of flu vaccine are available:
- The traditional flu shot which protects against four strains of flu.
- The nasal spray flu vaccine, which protects against four strains of flu, is for healthy people who are not pregnant and are ages 2-49. Studies have shown this vaccine was more effective among younger children. However, if the nasal spray vaccine is not immediately available, parents should not delay in getting children vaccinated.
- The high-dose flu shot for people age 65 years and older which protects against three strains of flu.
Anyone who experiences flu-like symptoms should consult a health provider as soon as possible.
Usually, Oklahoma is hardest hit by the flu toward the end of January.