Tulsa County reports second flu death in state this season
BY SHANNON MUCHMORE World Staff Writer
Friday, January 04, 2013
1/04/13 at 7:43 AM
Another Tulsa County resident has died from the flu, bringing the total number of deaths this season in the county and the state to two.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health said 64 new flu hospitalizations were reported last week.
The number of hospitalizations since Sept. 30 is 171. Of those, 67 have been from Tulsa County.
Oklahoma County has reported 21 hospitalizations; all other counties have numbers in the single digits.
Most of those hospitalized have been people age 65 or older. The age group with the next highest number of hospitalizations and deaths is 19 to 64.
The most recent death was a person age 65 or older.
Kaitlin Snider, a spokeswoman for the Tulsa City-County Health Department, said it's difficult to say why Tulsa County has seen more cases of flu than the rest of the state.
"We certainly don't know why certain things happen in a flu season because it's very unpredictable," she said.
Most of those who are getting sick did not get the flu vaccine, she said.
The number of cases is increasing a little earlier than usual this year, and that increase is expected to continue. Cold weather keeps people inside and makes them more likely to spread germs, she said.
The Health Department encourages everyone older than 6 months to get the vaccine and stresses that it is not too late for it to be effective, Snider said.
This year's vaccine does protect against the strains that are being reported, she said.
"If you did receive a flu vaccine you have a better chance of being protected from the most common viruses that are circulating," she said.
It is also important for people to practice proper hygiene and stay at home when sick to avoid spreading the flu, she said.
The latest numbers from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show 16 states reporting high flu activity and 31 states reporting widespread geographic activity.
Oklahoma reports regional activity.
Flu prevention tips
Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue and throw it away. If no tissue is available, cough into the crook of your elbow, not your hand.
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds:
Source: Hillcrest Medical Center
- After you sneeze or cough
- After using the bathroom
- Before you eat
- Before you touch your face
Original Print Headline: Tulsa has state's 2nd flu death
Shannon Muchmore 918-581-8378