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Health Experts Hold Discussion On Oklahoma's Flu Epidemic

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Dr. Rachel Franklin of OU Family Medicine Dr. Rachel Franklin of OU Family Medicine
OKLAHOMA CITY -

The flu is hitting Oklahoma hard with 45 deaths statewide since the season began, and more than 1,100 people hospitalized. 

We’ve all been there. The cough. The aches and pains. And of course, the fever.

"This is above average in terms of how many people are affected by it,” said Dr. Robert Welliver, OU Med Chief of Pediatric Infectious Disease.

Dr. Rachel Franklin of OU Family Medicine added, "The flu is a viral Pneumonia. It is actually quite serious. It's not a stomach bug. It's not a cold. It will lay you out and it may kill you."

Doctors at OU Medical Center say the flu generally hits you like a Mack truck and leaves you miserable for about a week. They say the best way to avoid the flu is to get the shot. The down side, it takes about two weeks to kick and, this years’ batch isn’t the best.

"Unfortunately, the vaccine this year looks to be about 30-percent effective. In a really good year it's about 60-percent effective,” said Dr. Franklin.

That’s because producers have to guess at what strains are going to be the worst from year to year. 

The bad news is we are only about half way through the flu season, so doctors urge you to wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer and cover your mouth when you cough.

If you get the flu, don’t go to work or school. Tami-Flu can be effective within the first 48-hours of symptoms appearing.

Read Related Story: Oklahoma Families Scrambling Due To Tami-Flu Shortage

If you can tolerate it, let the fever run its course. That’s your body fighting off the infection. Resting helps. You can go back to work or school 48-hours after the fever breaks.

So, what about home remedies like grandma’s chicken soup?

"We do know that the warmth of the broth helps to soothe the respiratory passages as it goes down. We do know that the electrolytes that are present help you maintain your hydration as opposed to water. So, it's mostly just warm and soothing,” said Dr. Franklin.

Dr. Welliver added, “I have a friend who said ‘I'm going to take a couple of shots of Jack Daniels so I really sleep tonight.’ That will not work."

Doctors say with at least two more months left in the flu season, it’s not too late to get the flu shot.

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