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Flu deaths rise in Oklahoma

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Lawton, Okla._Flu season is still in full force here in Oklahoma and the death toll is rising with thirty-three deaths reported since September 29th, with five of those being in Comanche County. The Oklahoma Department of Health says eight of those people died just last week. Deaths have been reported in all ages groups except the six to seventeen age range.

Most people don't think about the flu being something that could possibly kill you, but doctors say it should be taken seriously because if you don't you could end up as a statistic on the health department's website when just a doctor's visit could have saved your live.

"The medications we have now that studies have shown, may shorten the duration of the flu and even possibly reduce complications from the flu," said Dr. Steve Egwuonwu.

Dr.Steve Egwuonwu said those medications need to be taken within the first 48 hours of onset but unfortunately, only 30% of people see a doctor in that time period.

"I think these deaths could've easily been prevented by one...you want to get your flu shot every year," said Egwuonwu.

Egwuonwu said the most at risk people for complications are people with diabetes, people sixty-five or older, people with kidney or heart disease and people with asthma and COPD.

"Even if you are not in the high risk category of people that are highly likely to develop complications from the flu, it is still important that you are able to determine whether you are having the flu or an upper respiratory infection," said Egwuonwu.

Egwuonwu said some people are leery of the flu shot because of the possibility that it can actually give you the flu.

"There are two types of the vaccine, one has the live virus in it and then there is an inactive vaccine," said Egwuonwu.

Egwuonwu said in the past three months he has seen eight to ten cases of the flu a week. He said while some people choose not to get the flu shot, it isn't a very smart choice.

"When you don't get the flu shot, you're likely to come down with the flu and not only our you likely to come down with the flu, you may actually develop complications from the flu which may lead to death," said Egwuonwu.

Egwuonwu says that if you are one of those people who feels symptoms after getting the shot, then ask for the inactive version which shouldn't cause any symptoms.

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