Oklahoma sees first flu death of 2016 season

Posted at 1:32 PM, Dec 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-23 06:50:54-05

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma State Department of Health flu surveillance program shows the state has seen its first influenza-related death of the 2016 flu season.

According to the state's OK Flu View website, a patient died within the last week in Johnston County. One person has been hospitalized with flu in Johnston County and one person has died. A spokesperson with the health department could not say whether it was the same person, citing privacy issues. 

Since the 2016 flu season began on September 1, health officials say 54 people have been hospitalized. The vast majority of hospitalizations (44.4 percent) have been of people over the age of 65. The next largest group of hospitalizations (14) are patients between the ages of 18 and 49. Infants make up for less than one percent of hospitalizations. Nine people between the ages of 50 and 64 have been hospitalized with flu, compared with two people between the ages of five and 17.

Jamie Dukes, spokesperson for the health department, said, "We only track hospitalizations and deaths, so there are obviously more cases out there."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. Following are some of the symptoms the CDC says come with the flu:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

* It's important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever, according to the CDC.

Health experts recommend people get vaccinated to protect against the flu. For those who prefer a more natural approach, other medical experts recommend drinking at least 64 ounces of water each day, taking organic garlic supplements and supplements that include zinc and vitamin C. They also recommend homeopathic medications they they say help to lessen the severity of flu symptoms.

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