Flu Hits Green Country

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Reported by: Michelle Linn
Updated: 9/06/2013 4:38 pm Published: 9/06/2013 11:29 am

        Thursday tests came back positive for two of Dr. Brian McDowell's patients at Owasso Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

        Flu symptoms include a cough, sore throat, body aches and a fever.  It makes you pretty miserable.

        We did some digging and found out the Tulsa County Health Department doesn't actually track flu cases.  That's because it's not considered a reportable disease in Oklahoma, so doctors don't have to give numbers to the health department.  Instead, the county uses what they call a surveillance network, watching for flu symptoms to monitor suspected cases.  They don't have an actual number.  The state reports two people were hospitalized with the flu in the last month.  
        I checked with the Centers for Disease Control, in Atlanta, and found out these cases in Owasso are happening early.  Typically the CDC and the Tulsa County Health Department don't see flu cases until October.  In fact, when we went to the CDC website to get flu numbers, the most recent data was posted back in May.  We learned they don't even start tracking the 2013-2014 flu season until the middle of October.  But, here in Owasso, Dr. McDowell says don't wait to get the flu vaccine.  
        You can take your kids to their pediatrician.  We called around, and most offices around Tulsa already have vaccines available.  Parents know kids don't like shots, the nasal mist vaccine offers just as much protection.
        The CDC expects there to be more than 135 million vaccines available this flu season.  About 30 million of those will cover four flu strains, the rest will cover three.  The government will get a better idea about how well the vaccine matches up with this year's strains, once more cases are diagnosed, sometime late next month or in early November.
        The flu season typically peaks in January or February.  The CDC advises you to go ahead and get your vaccine now.  The protection should last throughout the season.

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Mayor Maynot - 9/7/2013 9:47 AM
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Ahchioooo. I had the flu before. Right after I got the vaccine.
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