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Dept. of Health: 17 hospitalized for flu since September

(KOKH/FILE)

The first influenza report of the season shows that 17 people have been hospitalized from the flu since the beginning of September.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health began their weekly flu reports Thursday. Since Sept. 1, 17 Oklahomans have been hospitalized for the flu. No deaths have been reported at this time. Last year, 110 people reportedly died from the flu. More than 2,000 were hospitalized because of the bug.

"We had seen anywhere between 8 and 12 hospitalizations, so 17 is above that," said Oklahoma State Department of Health epidemiologist, Kendra Dougherty.

She said this is not an indication of how severe the flu season will be, but it could indicate that we might peak earlier; meaning the next flu season might peak in December instead of January next year.

In the past week, only two Oklahomans have been hospitalized. The Oklahoma State Department of Health says they will begin offering vaccines at their county health offices starting October 2nd. Health officials said there are other things you can do to prevent the flu, such as basic health care routines like washing your hands or using hand sanitizers.

"Definitely do all of that hand hygiene before you touch your face because all of the cold and flu virus', you introduce to yourself by putting them up on your eyes, nose and mouth," Dougherty said.

She said this will not only help fight off the flu, but other things that are going around, such as the common cold.

Symptoms of influenza usually consist of a sudden onset of fever, body aches, headache, sore throat, cough, and fatigue. Most persons affected by the flu require bed rest for 4-7 days to recover fully. Others may be at risk of serious complications of the flu, such as pneumonia, secondary bloodstream infections, or heart problems leading to hospitalization or even death.

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