Flu Widespread In Oklahoma Since Christmas, Health Officials Say


Wednesday, January 8th 2014, 5:22 pm
By: News On 6


The state department of health reports half of this year's flu cases have been diagnosed since just before Christmas.

The Center of Disease Control has said the flu is widespread in the Sooner State.

We're midway through the flu season, but there is still time to get a flu shot, even if it's protect those who can't get a shot.

Rachelle Rowe has the flu and has hardly moved from her couch over the past week and a half.

"I'm staying inside doing nothing," she said.

Nothing but sleeping, watching TV, and trying to get better.

Her husband had it before Christmas and now it's her turn.

"I feel a little better, but I'm still just zapped," she said. "My strength is just gone. I just don't want to get up; I want to sleep, even with the fever gone it's hard."

The Oklahoma State Health Department reports 126 people have been hospitalized with the flu since Oct. 1, with half of those since Dec. 23.

Nicole Schlaefli is an epidemiologist with the Tulsa Health Department.

She says, despite that number, this flu season is shaping up better than last year.

"This is normal," Schlaefli said. "Actually, the last count we took, we were a few cases lower than we were last year."

She credits that to the number of people being immunized.

The Tulsa Health Department has given out more than 4,000 flu shots since October.

"The disease can cause severe complications that can put someone in the hospital or even cause death," Tulsa Health Department manager and registered nurse Becky Grubb said. "A flu shot is one method that they can use to prevent that."

Grubb said it's important even for the healthy to get immunized because they contribute to herd immunity.

That's the process where a group of people who are vaccinated stop the spread of a disease and protect those who can't get the flu shot or those who just refuse to.

"Herd immunity basically is trying to immunize the people around you to protect the ones that can't get the flu shot," Grubb said.

Rowe just moved from California and said the flu wasn't that big a deal where she lived, so she never got a flu shot.

"I don't know, just depends. Maybe after this... might want one," she said with a laugh.

You can get a flu shot at the Tulsa Health Department Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and on Fridays until 3 p.m. Just bring your insurance card and photo identification.

It does cost $25, but for those who meet certain income requirements the fee can be waived.

Information on Tulsa Health Department Flu Shots