Due to recent spike in flu-related hospitalizations in Oklahoma, the Tulsa Health Department encourages all individuals six months and older to get a flu vaccination. The best prevention against the flu is to receive the vaccine.
Six deaths were reported in the state during the last week, bringing the total to eight. Deaths have occurred among three residents of Tulsa County, and one each from Creek, Mayes, Muskogee, Pittsburg, and Rogers counties.
According to Oklahoma State Department of Health Acute Disease Service, influenza-associated hospitalizations have doubled in the past week, increasing from 171 to 345 as of January 8. Since September 30, 2012, the largest number of flu-related hospitalizations have been reported among persons aged 65 and older (50%) , followed by adults 19 to 64 years (23%),children less than 5 years (19%), and 5 to 18 years (8%).
“Spread of influenza is occurring statewide, so if you haven’t already, now is the time to get your flu shot,” said Tulsa Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart. “We still have flu vaccine available.”
The flu vaccine is offered on a walk-in basis Mondays through Thursdays 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. and Fridays 8:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. at the following Tulsa Health Department locations:
· James O. Goodwin Health Center located at 5051 S. 129th E. Avenue, Tulsa, OK
· Central Regional Health Center located at 315 S. Utica, Tulsa, OK
· North Regional Health and Wellness Center located at 5635 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Tulsa, OK
The flu vaccine is also offered at the following locations:
Bixby Health Center
8120 E. 126th Street
Bixby, OK 74008
Call (918) 369-3155 for clinic dates and times
Collinsville Health Center
1201 W. Center
Collinsville, OK 74021-3111
Call (918) 596-8650 for clinic dates and times
Sand Springs Health Center
306 E. Broadway
Sand Springs, OK 74063-7911
Call (918) 591-6100 for clinic dates and times
An annual flu vaccination is recommended for everyone six months and older. Vaccination is especially important for those persons at high risk from flu complications including people 50 years of age and older, young children, persons with chronic lung disease (such as asthma and COPD), diabetes (type 1 and 2), heart disease, neurologic conditions, other long-term health conditions, and pregnant women.
“Persons who have the flu can spread it to others even before they feel sick. The flu vaccine provides protection for the individual who receives it and reduces the chance of spreading the flu to persons who have not been vaccinated, including babies too young to receive a vaccination,” said Dr. Dart.
In addition to getting your flu shot, the Tulsa Health Department reminds you to follow these prevention tips:
· Frequent hand washing using soap and water, or alcohol-based products such as hand gels when hands are not visibly soiled.
· Make “respiratory hygiene” a habit, including use of tissues to cover coughs and sneezes, then disposing of them and washing hands at once. When tissues are not readily available, use your sleeve, never your hands.
· Stay home from work, school, and other public places if you are ill