The Oklahoma City-County Health Department is reporting its first pediatric influenza death in the 0-4 age bracket.
The health department's epidemiologists are recommending an influenza vaccine to provide some level of protection against the flu. Epidemiologist Cynthia Harry said a flu shot or nasal spray at six months of age or older are good steps.
“This year, the 65 plus group is at a higher risk of getting flu. In general, the 0-4 and 65 + are more susceptible to contracting influenza and developing more severe symptoms,” Harry said.
?The number of flu-related deaths in Oklahoma has more than doubled from a week ago. ?In numbers released Thursday? by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, 22 people have now died since the current flu season began last fall.
A week ago, the number of flu deaths stood at nine.
The OSDH influenza statistics show 805 people in Oklahoma have been hospitalized since the end of September, 2014. That is up 288 new cases since last week.
Oklahoma counties with flu-related deaths include (September 28, 2014 - January 6, 2015):
The OSDH says 20 of those flu-related deaths are in the 65 or older age group.
Tips To Survive Flu Season:
· Avoid close contact.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
· Stay home when you are sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
· Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
· Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
How Do You Wash Your Hands?
· Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
· Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
· Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.
· Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
· Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.