In one week the number of flu-related deaths in Oklahoma has more than doubled.
On Feb. 2, the Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 11 flu-related deaths. Thursday the OSDH said that the number of flu-related deaths has risen to 23. Of those, 12 have died in the last week.
The latest deaths were in Canadian, Creek, Kay, Oklahoma, Stephens, Tulsa and Wagoner counties.
Tulsa County has had quadruple the number of deaths than any other county at eight. Kay, Stephens and Wagoner counties have each had two death.
Canadian, Cleveland, Craig, Creek, Johnston, Logan, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie and Rogers have had one death each.The department reports 827 people hospitalized during the flu season that began Sept. 1.
One child age 5-17 died as a result of the flu, two adults aged 18-49, and three adults aged 50-64. The remaining 17 Oklahoma victims were over the age of 65.
The Oklahoma City-County Health Department issued some recommendations following the first flu-related death in Oklahoma County. OCCHD recommends that residents get the flu vaccination and use effective hand hygiene. The number of flu hospitalizations has increased by 42 in Oklahoma County which totals 136 sufferers this season, a significant jump compared to last year, according to OCCHD. In March 2016, Oklahoma County health professionals said they recorded 36 flu-related hospitalizations and zero deaths.
Health officials say the number of influenza outbreaks in institutional settings, such as long-term health care facilities and schools, also rose at the end of last week and continues to rise this week. Consistent with previous years, the highest rate of hospitalizations has been among individuals 65 years and older followed by children aged 0 to 4 years old.
Flu symptoms include: a fever of more than 100.4 F, aching muscles (especially those in the back, arms and legs), chills and sweats, headache, dry and persistent cough, fatigue and weakness, nasal congestion, sore throat.
The OCCHD offers the flu vaccine at three clinics. Learn more at www.occhd.org/clinics or call (405) 419-4261.