Tulsa Doctor: Number Of Flu Deaths 'Not Out Of The Ordinary'

Thursday, January 8th 2015, 6:33 pm
By: News On 6

The State Health Department said the flu has killed 22 people - including two in Tulsa County, two in Rogers County and one in each, Muskogee and Washington counties.

In just one week, the flu death numbers more than doubled - from nine to 22 - and although alarming, one doctor said that high number is nothing out of the ordinary.

Patients have doubled in the last few weeks at the My Doctor near 71st and Yale.

Dr. Stan Stacey said the latest number of deaths and hospitalizations in Oklahoma show just how potent the flu can be.

"The flu can be a serious illness, some people underestimate what it can do," Stacey said.

Tulsa Health Department spokesperson Leanne Stephens said during this time of year 13 deaths in one week isn't unusual.

"The flu season is unpredictable every season, but we are on track with what we would consider to be the peak of the flu season," Stephens said.

The most vulnerable are the young and old; according to the state, 20 of the 22 deaths were people who were 65 years and older.

"Most of the deaths occur from a respiratory problem, some people getting pneumonia, and they get to where their breathing is severely compromised," Stacey said.

A fever, headache, and achy body are some of the most common symptoms. When they escalate, it's time to go to the hospital.

"Any severe sustained high fever or shortness of breath," said Stacey.

Tamiflu can shorten the flu's lifespan, but Stacey said you can expect to feel sick for up to a week; during that time it's important to let yourself heal.

"Plenty of rest, fluids, Tylenol and Advil for any of your aches and pains," he said.

Health professionals agree that a flu shot is still the best method of prevention.

"When you do get the vaccine it can help lessen the symptoms if you were to get the flu," Stephens said.

The latest numbers also show there were about 300 people in the hospital this last week for the flu, bringing the total number to over 800 hospitalizations so far this flu season.