The flu is now considered widespread in 43 states and hospitalization rates for the illness are climbing according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children are especially at risk in Oklahoma, where the CDC reports influenza is "widespread" as of the last week of 2014. It's important to know how to protect your family against the flu and how to handle the virus if you get it this season. Here are three ways to protect your family:
1. Get a flu shot. It's not too late. CDC officials say even if the flu season peaks soon, the illness will stick around for months. If you haven't gotten vaccinated yet, visit one of these Oklahoma City County Health Department locations to get one. The CDC recommends flu shots for anyone over 6 months old. If vaccination isn't an option for you, at least follow these prevention tips to lower your risk.
2. Know your symptoms. If you think you may have the flu, it's important to visit your doctor immediately. Check this symptoms guide to be certain and ask your physician for a flu test.
3. Understand how to care for others with the flu. Considering children are especially at risk for catching the flu, it's a given that many parents will be taking care of sick kids this season. Read this guide to help you take the best care of your little ones and prevent getting yourself and others sick. The CDC estimates 20,000 children younger than 5 are hospitalized every year due to the flu. The best way to protect them from the virus is by getting them vaccinated. Read more about flu vaccinations here.
To get weekly updates about flu activity in the Oklahoma City area, click here.