For the past few weeks, Oklahoma has seen a continued decrease in flu activity, although two new deaths have been reported, according to the state Health Department.
“Fortunately, this is the third week in a row that we've seen a decrease in the reports of influenza-like illness,” said Becky Coffman, who investigates disease and public health problems at the state Health Department.
The two deaths this past week bring the state's death total from the flu to 25. Meanwhile, 36 new hospitalizations or deaths were reported this past week, according to the state Health Department.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports influenza activity remains high in parts of the country but is declining nationally.
This year's flu season has been most severe among people 65 and older in Oklahoma and nationwide.
Of the 25 Oklahoma residents who have died this season from the flu, 20 residents were 65 or older.
Half of the people in Oklahoma reported to be hospitalized because of the flu were 65 or older. Of the 862 hospitalizations that were reported since September, 442 were among people 65 and older.
Public health officials say the best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get the flu shot. A high-dose flu shot was designed specifically for people 65 years and older, according to the CDC.
Also, washing your hands and covering your cough are important in promoting good hygiene and decreasing the likelihood of spreading the flu.
The state Health Department will continue to monitor flu activity in Oklahoma, Coffman said. The department reports its latest flu data every Thursday during flu season.
“We've got our fingers crossed that we're approaching the end of our flu season this year,” Coffman said.