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Two Oklahoma County residents die of flu complications

Oklahoma City — Two Oklahoma County residents have died as a result of the flu. The Oklahoma City-County Health Department reported both victims were older than 50, but declined to release other information.

Senior adults, children younger than 5, pregnant women and people with chronic conditions are at a higher risk of complications from the flu than the general population.

Statewide, six people have died from complications of flu since the season started in September. One victims lived in Tulsa County. State Health Department officials declined to release where the others lived, citing privacy concerns. An additional 262 people have been hospitalized, including 74 in Oklahoma County.

The most common cause of death resulting from the flu is pneumonia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also can cause asthma attacks or worsen heart disease in people who already have those conditions. Less commonly, it can cause inflammation in the heart, brain or other organs.

Health department officials urged anyone older than 6 months to get the flu shot to protect vulnerable people. The flu vaccine doesn't provide perfect protection, but people who get it tend to have less severe symptoms. It takes about two weeks after the shot for the immune system to react and develop protections.

The vaccine is available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to noon Friday at the health department clinics at 2700 NE 63, 2149 SW 59 and 4113 NW 10.

If you have flu-like symptoms, avoid other people as much as possible, wash your hands and cover your coughs and sneezes. Generally, it is safe to go out again when you've had a normal temperature for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications.

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Meg Wingerter

Meg Wingerter has covered health at The Oklahoman since July 2017. Previously, she lived in Topeka, Kansas, and worked at Kansas News Service and The Topeka Capital-Journal, where she earned awards for business coverage. She graduated from... Read more ›