Flu shots available now for general public

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According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health's weekly flu activity summary, the flu has taken a deadly turn in Oklahoma.

Flu shots are offered at pharmacies, health care providers and local health districts.

Getting vaccinated is the first and most important step in protecting your family and yourself against this potentially serious disease. But it's most important that children younger than five, people older than 65, pregnant women, and those who suffer from asthma and chronic illness-think diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and disorders of the immune system-get them, she says. In fact, even if you get the flu, it's still a good idea to get a follow-up shot.

"As far as comparisons to the flu season that happened in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere, it's just too early to tell right now", he said.

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The annual influenza vaccination is still considered the best way to protect against the virus and its complications. "Pharmacists in 4,500 communities across the province are ready to deliver the flu shot in a convenient, accessible way". So, your best bet is to get the flu shot by the end of October, says Dr. Hanrahan. "Let's say you get that flu vaccine and you come down with a little sickness - your sickness is going to be less likely to spread from person to person and your symptoms will be much less severe", Mueller said. "The flu kills an estimated 3,500 Canadians every year and puts more than 12,000 in the hospital".

Ottawa Public Health is joining the campaign. Flu usually comes on suddenly.

Children through age 18 years are eligible to receive vaccines at no charge through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program if any of the following apply: they are uninsured Medicaid eligible, Native American Indian, Native Alaskan, or their insurance policy does not cover vaccines.

Until flu cases start showing up, public health officials are encouraging people to take the usual precautions, including getting a flu shot, washing their hands, staying home if sick and coughing into their sleeves.

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