Tulsa County Hardest Hit By Flu In Oklahoma As Hundreds Are Hospitalized

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Tulsa County has came under scanner of health officials as the number of influenza cases, more commonly known as flu, have increased significantly.

The number of people infected with flu in the region has increased rapidly, making this the second deadliest flu outbreak in Tulsa in the last few years.

Based on the reports shared by the Oklahoma Department of Health, there were around 17 reported deaths and 460 patients were hospitalized since Sept. 1, 2016.

The 17 reported deaths in the county are the second highest ever, after 23 deaths were reported from 2014 to 2015.

Flu Outbreak In Tulsa Region

Oklahoma has been further divided into eight regions by the Oklahoma Department of Health, namely Tulsa and Oklahoma counties, northwest, northeast, southwest, southeast, east central and central.

In Tulsa County, a death rate of 2.7 per 100,000 people and hospitalization rate of 72 per 100,000 people has been counted, making it one of the highest recorded rates in the region. Tulsa County and northeast regions together have accounted for 42 percent of the all the flu death cases in the state, and 34 percent of hospitalizations.

“There are several factors that can affect the rates of influenza-associated hospitalizations and deaths,” said Kaitlin Snider, the spokeswoman for the Tulsa Health Department.

Snider further alerted people that the flu season can begin anytime in May or October. Therefore, people must take precautions to safeguard themselves. According to the data, hospitalization cases increased in the last part of January and in the beginning of February this year.

Most of the people who succumbed to death due to flu in the state were adults aged 65 years and above. Nearly 11 deaths took place amongst adults between 50 to 64 years. Only seven deaths were recorded that had victims aged younger than 50, among whom two were children.

Symptoms Of Flu

Some common symptoms of flu are fever, cough, sore throat, running nose, headache, severe body ache and sudden fatigue. In order to fight the flu, physicians may prescribe anti-viral drugs.

These drugs works best when consumed within 48 hours of noticing the symptoms. They are prescribed for children who are 6 months old or younger.

Preventive Tips

The Oklahoma State Department of Health is urging everyone who has not taken a flu vaccine to come forward and get the shot.

Flu vaccines are provided to everyone on a walk-in-basis from 8 AM to 4 PM Monday to Thursday’s, and from 8 AM to 3 PM on Fridays at select Tulsa Health Department Centers. For more information on vaccination centers visit Tulsa Health Department’s official website.

Other than vaccines, the Oklahoma State Department of Health is also urging people to make sure they do the following:

Wash their hands with soap, water, as well alcohol-based products like gel.

Always use a tissue or napkin to cover up the face while sneezing or coughing. Making sure they dispose the tissue after using it and wash the hands again.

Make sure to never sneeze into the hands and prefer the sleeves, when there is no availability of any tissue or napkins.

Photo: Blake Patterson | Flickr

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