By Nathan ThompsonBartlesville Examiner-Enterprise
Two people died as a result of flu in Oklahoma, the state Department of Health announced Thursday.
According to the report, both deaths occurred in patients older than 65 years, but with additional details about the location of the patients were not disclosed, citing privacy concerns.
In total, the department said there have been 105 hospitalizations related to the flu in Oklahoma so far this season; none have been reported in LeFlore or Sequoyah County.
Jamie Dukes, public information officer at the State Department of Health, said the number of patients diagnosed with the flu is worrisome.
"The number of flu cases is relatively high for this time of year, and public health officials are concerned that there will be a high risk of spreading the flu during the holiday season," said Dukes. "The highest number of hospitalizations related to influenza occurred among those over 50 and those under 5 years, which are both groups at increased risk of serious illness and complications due to influenza."  Authorities remind Oklahoma residents that it is still very early in the flu season and there are still flu shots.
"The best way to protect against the flu and its consequences is to get a flu shot," Dukes said. "Many local health departments, pharmacies and health care providers have the vaccine." Health officials urge all 6-month-olds to get vaccinated to protect themselves and those around them from the flu, especially those who are infected. babies too small to get vaccinated. "
The State Department of Health said it takes approximately two weeks after receiving the flu vaccine for a person's immune system to respond and provide defenses against influenza viruses.
Those who already have the flu can spread it to others even before they feel sick, the report said. Dukes said that those who have a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills or fatigue need to visit their doctor as soon as possible.
"It is important for those who experience flu-like symptoms to consult with a health care provider as soon as possible," Dukes said. "Antiviral drugs can be prescribed to treat the flu, and these medications work best for treatment when they are started within 48 hours after the symptoms are noticed."
Some people are at higher risk of serious complications related to the flu. Children, older people, pregnant women, and people with some long-term medical conditions are reminded to contact their healthcare provider as soon as they develop flu-like symptoms.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.