Two more flu deaths reported in Oklahoma


The state numbers are especially higher during the current flu season, with 92 flu-associated hospitalizations during the week of December 2 and 257 total flu hospitalizations since the start of the flu season, compared to past year at this time when there were 19 flu-associated hospitalizations and only 83 for the season.

Fayette, Jefferson and Pike counties had the highest numbers of flu cases in the state. The bulk are in the Phoenix metro area, but Coconino County also reports an increase this year with 77 confirmed cases.

If people do get sick after a shot, the CDC said it could be because the protection doesn't kick in for two weeks from the time of injection, a time when a person is vulnerable.

This might mean employers considering more flexible sick-time policies so that employees can stay home without losing wages.

Wu said despite the vaccine being only partially effective, the benefits of getting the flu shot far outweigh the risks.

Experts say that 65 people had to be hospitalized within the last week due to the flu virus, bringing the total number of hospitalizations to 262.

"The influenza vaccine protects against multiple strains of flu", said Stacey Anderson, who works for the DPHHS Communicable Disease Epidemiology section.

The flu can be especially risky for young children, pregnant women, people 65 or older and those who have underlying health conditions like asthma or chronic diseases.

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Beyond getting a flu shot, there are other things we can do for ourselves and for family, friends, co-workers and the community.

"There are so many places you can go now, but at the health department we do immunization from age 6 months and up while some pharmacies only do 14 and up", Brown said.

"Most of the increase came around Thanksgiving", Burton said.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Some people, especially in the older generation, remember a habit of carrying facial tissue around by tucking them in one's pockets or just inside one's sleeves.

The flu can be spread from person to person when an infected person talks, sneezes or coughs. They say that's why vaccines "wear off" instead of giving lifetime immunity from the very strains people are inoculated with.

The health department is encouraging residents to call the city's 2-1-1 number to find a flu-vaccine provider. Acetaminophen can tackle a fever and minor aches. She has worked at Peterson Health for about one year.