Over 200 hospitalized for the flu

New influenza statistics released February 25 by the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) indicate 204 people have been hospitalized, and three people have died in Oklahoma since reporting for the current flu season began Oct. 4, 2015.

Influenza-associated hospitalizations have been reported statewide while three influenza-associated deaths have occurred among residents of Harper, Rogers and Tulsa counties.

Oklahoma has a low level of activity during the first part of the flu season, but the recent occurrence of influenza-associated deaths highlights the importance for Oklahomans to protect themselves against the flu. There are several months left in the flu season.

Those who already have the flu can spread it to others even before they feel sick. One may have the flu if they have some or all of these symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs.

Those who get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. If, however, they have flu-like symptoms and are very sick or worried about their illness, they should contact their health care provider.

Certain people are at greater risk of serious flu-related complications. Young children, elderly persons, pregnant women and people with some long-term medical conditions are reminded to contact their health care provider as soon as they develop flu symptoms.

OSDH recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after a 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.