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Oklahoma Flu Deaths, Hospitalizations Hit Record Numbers

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OU's Family Center Director Rachel Franklin and other physicians can't stress enough the importance of a flu shot. OU's Family Center Director Rachel Franklin and other physicians can't stress enough the importance of a flu shot.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Flu hospitalizations and deaths have only been tracked for the last three seasons. And with an estimated three months left, this year's flu season has already hit record numbers.

Since the end of September, there have been 819 hospitalizations and 25 deaths. And there were 115 hospitalizations in just the last week, a week that had numbers that occur too often.

"Complications of the flu are unfortunately more common than we think," said Rachel Franklin, M.D.

1/30/2014 Related Story: Five New Flu-Related Deaths In Oklahoma

It's common, but never fully expected.

"We are in the middle of one of the worst flu seasons I've seen in years," Franklin said.

OU's Family Center Director Rachel Franklin and other physicians can't stress enough the importance of a flu shot.

"It is the absolute best protection we have against influenza," Franklin said.

Even though the shot is the best protection, it's not guaranteed.

"Those people had inaccurate protection," Franklin said.

Each year the flu shots have to be ordered one year in advance, so doctors have to make an educated guess on the next possible strand.

"I wish we could guarantee the flu shot was 100 percent," Franklin said.

As for stopping the flu from developing into other complications, you must get checked out at the first signs of symptoms.

"Very young, very old, and those with chronic health conditions," said Franklin. "We can't let our guard down until it's gone this year."

Flu shots do take about two weeks to work. And if you got a flu shot in September, it is not recommended to get another one at a later date.

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