Flu numbers for Oklahoma are at an all-time high for the season with 1,206 hospitalizations and/or deaths since Sept. 28, 2014. According to the Oklahoma State Health Department, the flu death total in the state has reached 47.
Jamie Dukes, Oklahoma State Health Department Public Information Officer, said students can take some easy steps to prevent the flu.
Dukes recommends getting a flu shot and said they are still available. Because flu season goes all the way through April, it’s not too late to get vaccinated. The shot can help prevent or lessen the severity of symptoms if students happen to contract the flu.
“It does protect against four different strains of the flu. Even if you do happen to still go ahead and get the flu from one of the other strains, it does help lessen some of those symptoms and it protects against the four other strains,” Dukes said.
Practicing cough hygiene and handwashing are two areas where students can stop the spread of germs.
“If you cough, cough in your sleeve. Don’t cough in your hands. Handwashing, you know, washing your hands with soap or an alcohol sanitizer as well,” she said.
Body aches, fever and fatigue are primary symptoms of the flu. If students start feeling under the weather, do not hesitate to the doctor, she said.
“A lot of times, they’ll want to get them started on antiviral medication and will want to get them start on that as soon as possible,” Dukes said.
To find a location giving flu shots, visit http://flushot.healthmap.org. For more information, visit the Oklahoma State Health Department Website at www.ok.gov/health/Contact_OSDH.html or call 405-271-5600.