TULSA, OK -- Tulsa Health Department officials have confirmed that 16-year-old LaTowyn Gaston died of swine flu. It has not been confirmed if the teen suffered from any underlying health issues that might have contributed to his death.
It is the first confirmed death caused by the H1N1 virus in Tulsa County. Gaston was a student at East Central in Tulsa.
Related Story 10/2/2009: East Central High School Student Dies From Influenza
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FLU INFORMATION FROM THE TULSA HEALTH DEPARTMENT:
Symptoms of the flu include:
• Other symptoms may include headache, chills, muscle aches or fatigue, sore throat, and in some cases vomiting and diarrhea
In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:
Ways to Protect the Health of Children:
To keep the flu from spreading to more people, the Tulsa Health Department recommends sick children stay at home. Any children who are sick at school should be sent home. It is important to be alert for signs of illness in your children.
Following are some ways you can slow the spread of germs:
Groups at High Risk for Complications from Flu
It is particularly important for those who are at high risk for complications from influenza to continue good health habits and to seek medical guidance if they begin to experience flu-like symptoms. High risk groups include:
• People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu
The Tulsa Health Department is currently able to offer free seasonal flu vaccinations at their area clinics to anyone who wishes to receive the vaccine. A limited supply of H1N1 vaccine is scheduled to arrive in Tulsa County within the next week. With the first shipment of vaccine being a limited amount and in nasal spray form, the Tulsa Health Department will be following established federal protocols and targeting high risk groups first beginning with health care workers who provide direct patient care to those most vulnerable to complications from the flu. Examples include area hospital workers with direct patient care in emergency departments, pediatrics and intensive care units.
The Tulsa Health Department will also utilize the initial vaccine supply to begin implementing their countywide school vaccination program by offering vaccine to students and faculty at Limestone Elementary in Sand Springs. Although many schools are reporting student absences similar to those found during typical flu season, Limestone Elementary is experiencing a higher than usual absentee rate. As vaccine supplies increase in the coming weeks, the Tulsa Health Department will be deploying teams of nurses to area schools who wish to offer the H1N1 vaccine to their faculty and students.
Priority groups to receive H1N1 vaccinations include the following:
• Persons aged 25 to 64 who have underlying medical conditions
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