The Oklahoma State Department of Health announced the first two flu deaths in Oklahoma.

So far, 105 influenza-associated hospitalizations have been reported in Oklahoma and both of the deaths were patients over 65 years of age.

The highest number of flu-related hospitalizations has occurred among those who are older than 50 years of age, and children younger than 5.  Both of these groups, according to the Department of Health are at greater risk of experiencing severe illness and complications due to flu.

The number of flu cases is relatively high for this time of year, and public health officials are concerned there will be a high risk of spreading the flu during the holiday season.

The OSDH reminds the public that there are still several months left in the flu season. The single best way to protect against flu and its consequences is to get the flu vaccine. Many local county health departments, pharmacies and health care providers have vaccine and health officials urge everyone 6 months of age and older to get the vaccine to protect themselves and those around them from influenza, especially babies too young to receive a vaccination.

It takes about two weeks after getting a flu shot for a person’s immune system to respond and provide defenses against influenza viruses.

It is important for those experiencing flu-like symptoms to consult with a health care provider as soon as possible

Certain people are at greater risk of serious flu-related complications. Young children, elderly persons, pregnant women and people with some long-term medical conditions are reminded to contact their health care provider as soon as they develop flu symptoms.

For more information about influenza and activity updates, visit the Ok Flu View at flu.health.ok.gov.