With high flu activity likely to continue in Oklahoma for several weeks, Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday urged residents to take health precautions and reminded those who haven't yet done so to receive their flu vaccination.
So far this flu season, 33 Oklahomans have died from the flu, according to state Health Department data. Additionally, 975 residents have been hospitalized since the flu season began in late September.
“There are simple, immediate steps we all can take to prevent the flu from spreading,” Fallin said. “We should all be washing our hands and staying home if feeling sick. And for those who haven't done so, it's not too late to get the flu vaccination.”
State Health Commissioner Terry Cline said flu can be a very serious disease for anyone, including healthy young adults.
“Flu vaccination is the best way to prevent the flu and reduces the chance of spreading flu to persons who have not been vaccinated, including babies too young to receive a vaccination,” Cline said. “This year's vaccine is generally well-matched to the circulating strain. Many local county health departments, pharmacies and health care providers still have vaccine.”
State health officials recommend anyone 6 months of age and older get the vaccine to protect themselves and those around them from influenza.
Officials say while it may take up to two weeks for those who receive the vaccination to be fully protected, it's not too late to get that protection, as flu season in Oklahoma can continue into early spring.