From Staff and AP Reports
OKLAHOMA CITY — More than a half dozen school districts in Oklahoma and one in Texas have closed for at least a day because of a flu outbreak.
In Oklahoma, the Cleveland and Union City schools both closed for a day earlier this week, while the Morris, Quinton, Swink, Hugo and Valliant districts are closed until next week.
The Bonham Independent School District in Texas is also closed until next week.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health reports on Thursday that the state has had 45 flu-related deaths and another 1,429 hospitalizations. Kay County has had nine hospitalizations.
The flu deaths include three in the northwest, three in the northeast, eight in the southwest, nine in east central, zero in the southeast, nine in central, 10 in Tulsa County and three in Oklahoma County.
Officials say most of the flu hospitalizations and deaths have been in the 65 and older demographic, followed by the 50-64 age group. In addition, the very young (0-4 years old) and school age children have been affected.
With the peak period of flu cases yet to come, OCCHD offers this cautionary advice that all individuals six months and older should get a flu vaccination. Director of Public Health Phil Maytubby offers these tips for flu prevention:
— Get a flu shot to prevent or lessen symptoms.
— Good hand hygiene (wash with soap and water) and cover coughs and sneezes.
— Do not go to work sick and avoid exposing others when you are ill!
Officials advise you to get to the doctor within 48 hours of the onset of flu as they may prescribe antivirals which can effectively reduce the symptoms. OCCHD reminds the public that it takes about two weeks to be fully protected from the vaccine, so don’t wait to receive the flu shot.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports widespread flu in 49 states.