Flu In Oklahoma Reaching Peak, Expected To Get Worse

Friday, January 4th 2013, 9:16 pm
By: News 9

The flu season is already in full swing. The CDC says the flu is reaching a peak in the United States, the earliest experts have seen in a decade.

Over the past three weeks, hospitals in the Oklahoma City metro have been reporting a significant increase in the number of people coming in with flu symptoms, and doctors say the suffering is far from over.

"Everything in my body…ached," OU student Keith Cornelius Jr. said. "I didn't even want to get out of bed."

Cornelius got over the flu in late December. He says it was one of the worst cases he has ever had. Since Christmas, two people in Oklahoma have died from the flu and 170 have been hospitalized, according to officials at Integris Health in Oklahoma City.

"It's only going to get worse," Dr. Bronwyn Woods said. "Over the next six to eight weeks, it'll get worse then we'll, hopefully, [be] on the down end of it."

Woods says high fevers, body aches and chills are the main symptoms with this season's strain, and it is a strain that experts say hits people fast.

"I felt fine the day before, and then I woke up and was just miserable," Cornelius said.

Doctors say mild cases of this season's flu can put a person in bed and out of work for seven to 10 days. The majority of people will likely miss 14 to 16 days of work.

"Nationwide, there's been a large epidemic," Woods said. "We have more in store for us."

As a college student, Cornelius was offered a free flu shot and planned getting one during finals week, but he became too busy studying for exams.

"I ended up not doing it, and sure enough, I got the flu," Cornelius said.

Doctors say this season's flu shot is not doing that great of a job against the current strain. However, most physicians recommend getting the shot because, while it's not a guarantee you will not get sick, you are still less likely to get sick.

Children less than four years of age and people 65 years and older are more likely to contract the flu.