TULSA, OK – [December 29, 2016] – The Oklahoma State Department of Health today reported the first influenza-associated deaths in Tulsa County for the 2016-2017 flu season. Flu has now claimed the lives of two Oklahomans this season.
As the flu season continues, the Tulsa Health Department encourages all individuals six months and older to get a flu vaccination. The best prevention against the flu is to receive the vaccine. The flu vaccine can keep you from getting the flu, make the illness less severe if you do get it, and keep you from spreading the virus to family and other people.
According to OSDH, there have been 97 influenza-associated hospitalizations statewide since October 2, 2016. The largest number of flu-related hospitalizations has been reported among persons age 65 and older (47%) followed by adults 18-49 years (23%) and adults 50-64 years (18%).
“Individuals who receive the flu vaccine are not only protecting themselves but also those around them, including babies too young to receive a vaccination,” said Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart. “We still have flu vaccine available, so if you haven’t already, now is the time to get your flu vaccination.”
The flu vaccines will be offered to anyone six months and older on a walk-in basis Mondays through Thursdays 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Fridays 8:00 a.m. -3:00 p.m. at the following Tulsa Health Department locations:
James O. Goodwin Health Center | 5051 S. 129 E. Ave., Tulsa, OK
Central Regional Health Center | 315 S. Utica, Tulsa, OK
North Regional Health and Wellness Center | 5635 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Tulsa OK
The flu vaccine will also be offered at the following locations:
Collinsville Community Health Center | 1201 W. Center, Collinsville, OK
Call (918) 596-8650 for clinic dates and times
Sand Springs Health Center | 306 E. Broadway, Sand Springs, OK
Call (918) 591-6100 for clinic dates and times
An annual flu vaccination is recommended for everyone six months and older. Vaccination is especially important for those persons at high risk from flu complications including people 50 years of age and older, young children, persons with chronic lung disease (such as asthma and COPD), diabetes (type 1 and 2), heart disease, neurologic conditions, other long-term health conditions, and pregnant women.
In addition to getting your flu shot, the Tulsa Health Department reminds you to follow these prevention tips:
Frequent hand washing using soap and water, or alcohol-based products such as hand gels when hands are not visibly soiled.
Make “respiratory hygiene” a habit, including use of tissues to cover coughs and sneezes, then disposing of them and washing hands at once. When tissues are not readily available, use your sleeve, never your hands.
Stay home from work, school, and other public places if you are ill.
Symptoms of influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. It is important for those experiencing flu-like symptoms to consult with a provider as soon as possible. A provider may prescribe antiviral drugs to treat the flu. These drugs work better for treatment when started within 48 hours of noticing symptoms. Antiviral drugs may be used as a prevention measure to prevent especially vulnerable persons such as infants less than 6 months old, or persons of any age with a medical condition which severely suppresses their immune system.
Please visit www.tulsa-health.org for more information about the flu, including flu vaccination clinic locations and hours of operation, and accepted insurance and other methods of payment. Visit www.health.ok.gov for Oklahoma flu updates posted every Thursday.