OKLAHOMA CITY - There have been 253 flu-related deaths in Oklahoma, according to the state health department's weekly flu summary. No new deaths were reported with testing between March 21 and March 27, 2018, the OSDH states.

There are 11 deaths added to the overall flu-related numbers that did not occur between those dates, however. Last week's total was 242.

The current flu season began on Sept. 1, 2017. Approximately 4,524 hospitalizations have been reported since flu season began. It ends the third week in May 2018.

Experts from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation say although influenza A is on the decline, influenza B cases appear to be surging.

Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus which is spread by infected people coughing, sneezing or touching a surface handled by others. Its impact can be severe in some cases, especially among seniors, young children, pregnant women and people with underlying medical conditions, according to the CDC.

"Flu season is generally winding down, but we aren’t in the clear, and people need to remain vigilant in protecting themselves and their families, especially young children," said Eliza Chakravarty, immunologist with OMRF. 

"Influenza B can be just as serious as influenza A, and it has been known to be severe in young children."

Chakravarty said even this late in the season, if you can get the flu shot, you should.

"This virus is deadly. You will not get the flu from the shot; that is a myth that needs to be eliminated," she said. "The shot can save your life or the life of someone you love.