The number of flu deaths in the state has gone up to 20 since Sept. 1, the Oklahoma State Department of Health reported.

About 660 flu-related hospitalizations were reported since Sept. 1. The state health department said people of all ages have been hospitalized due to influenza but the highest rate has occurred in people over the age of 50.
 
Read Related: Flu Deaths Climb Up To 12 In Oklahoma, State Health Department Reports
 
Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus which is spread by infected people coughing, sneezing or touching a surface handled by others. Its impact can be severe in some cases, especially among seniors, young children, pregnant women and people with underlying medical conditions, according to the CDC.
 
More: Oklahoma Doctors Warn Of Flu Shot Importance This Season
 
The CDC states the best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated.
 
The OSDH recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone. Avoid going to work, school, social events and public gatherings as well as traveling and shopping. The fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine, such as acetaminophen before returning to a regular routine. To prevent the spread of the flu, the public is reminded to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and wash hands often.