The flu season has come early to Rogers County and Oklahoma.
Since Dec. 26, there have been 65 reported influenza-associated hospitalizations in Oklahoma.
This brings the total number to 171, according to a recent summary by the Oklahoma State Department of Heath (OSDH).
Three deaths have accumulated since Christmas, including one in Rogers County.
Influenza-like illness is defined as having a fever greater than 100 degrees combined with a cough and/or a sore throat. Children under the age of four and adults 65 years or older are more prone to contract the illness.
The strain this year has been reported as very dangerous with the majority of symptoms lasting more than two weeks, according to OSDH.
Hillcrest Healthcare Media/Public Relations Manager Angela Peterson said 10 people have been confirmed hospitalized with the flu at Hillcrest Claremore since Jan. 1.
“People with the flu can expect to be out of work for at least two weeks with fever, chills and nausea,” said Rogers County Health Administrator Mary Beth Murray.
We expect flu activity to get worse before it gets better, she said.
Sentinel physicians from health clinics offer testing for those suffering from flu symptoms.
Public health officials accumulate surveillance data from the lab testing information to keep physicians, hospitals and facilities better informed of influenza activity around the state, said Murray.
“The best prevention is a flu shot and to wash your hands constantly. Even if you catch the flu after receiving the shot, it’s likely that the effects will be less severe, she said.”