The Oklahoma State Health Department releases a weekly update regarding the current flu season on Thursday mornings. The figures from this week’s update were widely discussed in the news due to the recent increase in cases across the state.
According to the Influenza (Flu) page on vaccines.gov, it is recommended that individuals get the flu shot as soon as it is available in their area. If an individual has not received a flu shot this season yet, there is still time. “Flu season begins about October and usually peaks between December and February, but activity can last as late as May” (vaccines.gov). Flu vaccinations are still available from county health departments, medical providers and retailers. A flu vaccine is needed every season and takes about two weeks after the vaccination to provide protection against the flu. An individual should talk to his or her healthcare provider to determine if he or she should get the flu vaccine.
If a person does begin to exhibit flu-like symptoms (having a fever [>100°F] combined with a cough and/or a sore throat), it is important to consult a provider as soon as possible (within 48 hours of noticing symptoms).
In addition to getting a flu shot, here are some additional prevention tips:
- Wash hands frequently using soap and water or use antibacterial hand sanitizers
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Stay home from work, school and other public places when a person is ill