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Winter flu season bears down on Oklahoma

(KOKH/FILE)

The winter flu season is bearing down on Oklahoma at the most inopportune time.

"Everybody's out shopping for Christmas presents, everybody's out doing more holiday parties and stuff where they're going to be in close proximity with other people, “ said Kendra Dougherty, a state epidemiologist. “And that's perfect transmission for influenza."

Since September 1st, two Oklahomans have died of flu-related complications, and 105 have been hospitalized for the flu; many right here in Oklahoma County.

"So far in Oklahoma County, we have 26 hospitalizations,” said Kerri Stewart, a clinical liaison at OCCHD. "We're a little bit ahead of the curve than we were last year. That seems to be nationwide."

This has the Centers for Disease Control urging Americans to be vigilant, and especially those who make up the more vulnerable populations.

"Populations that are at risk of severe complications from the flu are children less than 5 years of age, 65 and older, pregnant women, and anyone with any kind of underlying medical condition that they see a physician for regularly,” Dougherty said.

But no matter your age or health status, you should be doing all you can to make sure you're protected.

Dougherty urges you to get the flu vaccine, wash your hands regularly and cover your cough.

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