Mon December 22, 2003
Flu Spreading in Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Ok. – According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the number of reported flu cases in the Sooner State has reached the epidemic level. And so far at least seven Sooner State people have died from flu complications. The list includes three elderly persons plus an infant, a 13 year old Tulsa girl with asthma who did not have a flu shot, and a 28 year old woman. Karen Mahan, Comanche County Health Department Administrator, said with the additional supply of flu vaccine received by the state health department, Comanche County received about 400 doses for its immunization clinic the week Dec. 14. By Dec.22, the Comanche County Health Department was down to 20 doses. At that point, Mahan said she did not believe more vaccine would be available to give flu shots for adults. Mahan said in January, the health department expects to receive doses to give infants over six months and young children who had has the first of the two required doses, a second shot. "I do not expect to receive more vaccine for the older population this flu season," she stated. The normal peak of the flu season in the area is in January and February.
Those at greatest risk to develop flu complications are the chronically ill and those age 65 and older; pregnant women and young children. Mahan suggests people in these groups contact their doctor with sudden onset of symptoms as anti-viral medication could help to keep them from complications which could put them in the hospital. Other advice is to stay home if you are sick so you don't expose others. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing. Wash hands thoroughly frequently with warm water and soap 30 seconds and longer to keep germs at bay.