First cases of Flu in state confirmed


Prevention tips offered

by Michael Bush - fbush@civitasmedia.com



Reports from the Oklahoma State Department of Health confirm three cases of flu in Oklahoma. The report states that all are influenza A H3. Two of the confirmed cases were from Tulsa County, including one hospitalization, and one case was from Oklahoma County. According to the OSDH Sentinel Influenza Surveillance System, the percentage of influenza-like illness among outpatients indicates that influenza activity is elevated in Tulsa County. OSDH urges all Oklahomans to get an influenza immunization if they have not already done so.

The Jackson County Health Department held their seasonal influenza vaccination clinic beginning on Wednesday, Oct. 14.

The Jackson County Health Department accepts SoonerCare, Medicare, all private health insurance, cash, checks, or credit cards as payment for flu vaccines. For more information about the flu vaccine call Jackson County Health Department at (580) 482-7308.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and Jackson County Health Department recommend flu vaccination every year for everyone 6 months of age and older. The more people vaccinated, the less the chance that flu will spread in families and communities.

“If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to get your flu shot before influenza begins to spread more widely,” said Laurence Burnsed, MPH, OSDH epidemiologist. “Persons who have the flu can spread it to others even before they feel sick. The flu vaccine provides the best protection for the individual who receives it and reduces the chance of spreading the flu to persons who have not been vaccinated, including babies too young to receive a vaccination.”

Immunization is the safest and best way to protect people at high risk from the flu such as pregnant women, children, and people with chronic heart and lung diseases. In addition to getting a flu vaccination, persons 65 and older, and those with chronic health conditions, should ask their doctor about being vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia. Pneumococcal pneumonia is a common and potentially serious complication of the flu. Unlike the influenza vaccine, the pneumococcal vaccine does not need to be given every year.

In addition to getting your flu shot, the OSDH reminds you to follow these prevention tips: Frequent hand hygiene using soap and water, or alcohol-based products such as hand gels when hands are not visibly soiled; Make “respiratory hygiene” a habit, including use of tissues to cover coughs and sneezes, then disposing of them and performing hand

hygiene at once. When tissues are not readily available, use your sleeve, never your hands; and stay home from work, school, and other public places when you are ill.

Visit www.health.ok.gov for more information about the flu and for weekly updates.

Prevention tips offered

by Michael Bush

fbush@civitasmedia.com

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