Flu season has hit early and hard
BY World's Editorials Writers
Monday, January 14, 2013
1/14/13 at 2:53 AM
Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy flu season.
The 2012-2013 flu season has hit Oklahoma early and hard. Already there have been eight flu-related deaths, all of them in Tulsa and other eastern Oklahoma counties. Half of those dead were 64 years of age or older.
Flu cases accounted for nearly 100 hospitalizations in the first few days of January, bringing the total to 345 since Sept. 30.
Flu already has caused school closings in one town, Kiefer, where, with a fourth of the district's students sick, classes were canceled Friday.
The earlier-than-normal flu season has presented some complications. Higher numbers over the holidays, when many physicians do not see patients, resulted in long lines at emergency rooms, according to Dr. Mark Rowland, epidemiologist with Saint Francis Health System.
"This is what influenza does," Rowland told the Tulsa World's Shannon Muchmore, "It hits you hard and clogs up the health system."
There are a few steps people can take to stay healthy and discourage the spread of the disease. Wash hands frequently, cover coughs and don't go to work or school sick.
Most important, get flu shots. Check Friday's Tulsa World, page A-4, for a list of places in Tulsa where shots are available on a walk-up basis.
Original Print Headline: Influenza
An OSU Medical Center employee gets a flu shot. Area hospitals are reporting a high number of flu patients. CORY YOUNG / Tulsa World file