A media release from the Oklahoma City-County Health Department
Oklahoma City, Okla. – Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD) recommends flu vaccinations and effective hand hygiene to avoid the ravages of flu this season. This comes after the first flu-related death of the season was reported in Oklahoma County. The name of the victim was not provided, but the Oklahoma County resident was older than 65 years. In addition, the number of flu hospitalizations has increased by 42 in Oklahoma County totaling 136 people – a significant jump compared to last year. In March 2016, Oklahoma County health professionals recorded 36 flu-related hospitalizations and zero deaths.
The number of flu-associated deaths in Oklahoma now stands at 23 people, which doubled from last week, and hospitalization totals rose from 584 people to 827. The number of reported influenza outbreaks in institutional settings, such as long-term health care facilities and schools, also picked up at the end of last week and has continued into this week. As in previous years, the highest rate of hospitalization has been among individuals 65 years of age and older followed by 0 to 4 years of age.
Data collected by hospitals and clinics statewide shows continued elevation in influenza activity. OCCHD stresses the best strategy to prevent flu remains to get a flu shot and good hand hygiene. Our experts note that having the shot often lessens the severity of the flu.
Flu symptoms include:
- Fever more than 100.4° F
- Aching muscles, especially in your back, arms and legs
- Chills and sweats
- Dry, persistent cough
- Fatigue and weakness
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
OCCHD reminds the public to follow these prevention tips:
- Make “respiratory hygiene” a habit using tissues to cover coughs and sneezes.
- Frequent hand washing using soap and warm water, or alcohol based products.
- Stay home from work, school and other public places while feeling ill.
- If you suspect that you or your loved one has the flu, go to your physician as soon as possible. Antiviral medications are available to prevent or reduce the severity of flu and are most effective if started within 2 days of symptom onset.
OCCHD offers the flu vaccine at our three clinic locations. Learn more about our hours and locations atwww.occhd.org/clinics or call 419-4261.