State Health Department: 3 Oklahomans Die From Flu This Season
TULSA, Oklahoma - Three people in Oklahoma have died because of the flu this season.
Between September, October and November, The Oklahoma State Health Department said more than 140 people have been in the hospital for the flu statewide.
The majority of those are from the eastern part of Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health said aside from one Tulsa County flu-related death reported in October, the other two deaths reported just this week are from the Northeast region and East Central region of the state.
In all three cases, the person who died was at least 50 years old.
"Three flu-related deaths, are three too many,” Tulsa Health Department Clinical Services Manager Ellen Niemitalo said.
She said the number of people going to the hospital and dying from the flu starts rising this time of the year, but she doesn't point to a specific reason why there are more on the eastern side of the state.
"Flu activity tends to cluster at certain areas and then spread throughout the country or throughout the state,” Niemitalo said.
15-year-old Malacci Howard came to the health department Thursday to get a few vaccines, including the flu shot.
He said he had the flu just a few years ago and now encourages others to get the flu shot too.
"I felt nauseated. I had a migraine headache. I couldn't eat,” he said.
Niemitalo it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to become effective.
"So you don't want to wait until you've been exposed to someone with the flu because the incubation for the flu is really about one to three days,” she said.
The Tulsa Health Department said the flu season in Oklahoma generally peaks by the end of January and the beginning of February, so it's not too late to get vaccinated.
Niemitalo said the THD has a good supply of flu shot doses. It will cost $25 if you don't have insurance, and the department does provide shots at no cost for those who qualify.