A Tulsa County resident older than 65 was the second person to die from the flu in Oklahoma this season, the state Health Department reported Thursday.
Two Tulsa County residents have died since the flu season started in September.
Sixty-four people in Oklahoma were reported hospitalized last week from the flu, bringing the number of flu-related hospitalizations to 171.
Flu activity continues to increase in the United States, with high levels of activity in the South Central and Southeastern regions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Oklahoma's flu season typically peaks in January or February, and public health officials say Oklahoma is on course with what's to be expected this time of year.
Influenza, or the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death, according to the state Health Department.
Amanda Winston, a Walgreens pharmacist in Oklahoma City, said there's still time to get a flu shot.
County health departments, physician's offices and some pharmacies have the flu shot available, as well as a flu nasal spray, a high-dose flu shot for people older than 65 and an intradermal flu vaccine that has a smaller needle.
Winston has seen a recent increase in the number of people coming in for flu shots and Tamiflu.
Tamiflu is an antiviral medication given to people who have been diagnosed with the flu or to their family members who were exposed, Winston said.
“It won't prevent you from getting the flu, but it will decrease the severity of your symptoms,” she said. “It's not a substitute for the flu shot, but it's something we get on board with afterward.”
People often tell Winston and other staff members at Walgreens they don't want to get the flu shot because it will make them contract the flu. That isn't possible, she said.
“If in fact they get sick right after the flu shot, they were probably exposed to the flu before they got their shot, and they just didn't have enough time for the shot to work,” she said. “And even then, they will probably have a less severe case of the flu because they did have their flu shot.”