Oklahoma reports first two flu deaths; virus already worse than last year

The Oklahoma State Health Department reported the first two deaths from the flu this week in the season.

According to health experts, this year is expected to be one of the worst in a while.

The New England Journal of Medicine said Australia had a dismal flu season. Their vaccine was only ten percent effective. And the United States has the same vaccine.

"We are concerned we might have a bad flu season here as well," said Dr. Mohamed Rahman, a cardiologist at Wilson N. Jones hospital.

Rahman said the flu season is still early, but doctors often look to the southern hemisphere for clues on our flu season.

"That gives everyone a reason to pause and be vigilant," said Josh Stevenson of the Grayson County Health Department. "There is a chance we could see the same thing."

The numbers in Oklahoma are already worse than last year. At this time last season, 37 had to be hospitalized for the flu. Now, it's already 105.

"We strongly recommend people get vaccinated and take all the preventative measures," Rahman said.

In Texas, the numbers are below normal and no deaths have been reported. Even though our vaccine is the same as Australia's, it's still recommended to get a flu shot.

"It will make your illness shorter and less severe so its still worth getting," Stevenson said.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, from 2005-2014, 40,000 deaths were averted by getting a vaccine.

"People need to do what they can to keep themselves safe," Stevenson said.

Here are some tips to stop the spread of the flu:

1. Avoid contact with sick people
2. Wash your hands to prevent the spread of germs
3. If you're sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever's gone
4. Get your vaccine, especially if you have a preexisting condition or are older than 65



 
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