The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

January 10, 2013

Flu cases up in Oklahoma, throughout the United States

ENID, Okla. — Flu season is hitting Oklahoma hard.

In the past week, the number of confirmed cases and the number of flu-related deaths has increased. Six more people died in the past week, bringing the number of flu-related deaths to eight this flu season.

The number of people hospitalized statewide because of the flu more than doubled, from 171 to 345.

Those numbers, which come from Oklahoma Health Department, stand out when compared to last year’s numbers. Last year, 316 people were hospitalized because of the flu, and nine people died of flu-related causes.

Nationwide, the story is the same. The flu is hitting people hard.

The big questions are what can you do to not get sick, and what can you do if you do get the flu.

According to Oklahoma Health Department, the best way to protect against flu is to get the flu vaccine. Many local county health departments, pharmacies and health care providers still have vaccine, and health officials urge all people 6 months of age and older to get the vaccine.

Symptoms may include fever, cough, runny nose, head and body aches and fatigue. Some people also suffer vomiting and diarrhea, and some develop pneumonia or other severe complications.

Most people with flu have a mild illness and can help themselves and protect others by staying home and resting. People with severe symptoms should see a doctor, and they may be given antiviral drugs or other medications to ease symptoms.

We hope everyone stays healthy, and if you haven’t yet, get a flu shot. And, if you get the flu, don’t return to work until you are well. There’s no need to risk your friends and co-workers.

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