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Epidemiologist Profile Highlight: Influenza

“Although we don’t conduct public health investigations for influenza, Epidemiologists at the Tulsa Health Department do keep a close eye on current disease numbers to monitor the annual burden of the flu. We see the highest numbers of flu illnesses in October-May every year, but the illness can happen at any time. The influenza virus is unique in its ability to mutate yearly, and sometimes even during the same season, so it’s essential for us to always keep an eye on where the flu is primarily circulating, who it is affecting, and what we can do to help the community avoid getting sick from it. Influenza, however prominent, can be preventable- so we focus a lot of our efforts towards educating the community on ways to keep it at bay, such as through handwashing, keeping a distance from sick individuals, and getting the annual flu vaccine.”

Influenza Statistics
During the 2021-2022 flu season, the CDC estimates that there were between 8 million and 13 million flu illnesses, 82,000-170,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000-14,000 deaths.
On average, the CDC estimates that annually, the flu results in 9 million-41 million illnesses, 140,000-710,000 hospitalizations, and 12,000-52,000 deaths in the US.
Globally, the World Health Organization estimates that the death toll of the flu reaches 290,000-650,000 people annually.
Symptoms of Influenza
Fever, or feeling feverish
Sore Throat
Runny/stuffy nose
Muscle or body aches
Fatigue (tiredness
Less often, diarrhea or vomiting    
Prevention of Influenza
Vaccination (the single best way to prevent illness from the flu)
Staying home when you are sick
Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth
Avoiding close contact with sick individuals
Covering your mouth and nose when you cough/sneeze

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