OKLAHOMA CITY – Health officials confirmed the first deaths in Oklahoma due to the flu. Now, medical experts wonder what that means for the flu season 2018-19.
"He hit me like a truck," said Edmond-based Andrew Brooks about his first use of the flu for over 20 years. "Deep constipation, sinus headaches, lethargy, loss of appetite, coughing."
Brooks is not alone. Hundreds of Oklahomans are now suffering from the influenza virus.
The state health department confirms that 56 Oklahomans have been hospitalized and two have died.
"Losing two people here in Oklahoma is very worrisome," said nurse practitioner Michelle Merrell.
Last year was the worst flu season in the US for the last 40 years. Nearly 80,000 died of the flu in the whole country.
"Of course we are worried that we will have another really bad year, and then to hear that two people have lost their lives is very worrying," said Merrell.
The two confirmed deaths are both over 65 years old.
Last year's flu hit young and old hard.
Merrell said it's hard to predict what 2018 will bring.
"We never know what kind of spot we'll get, it's hard to say if this is going to be a bad year," she said.
Now Brooks is part of the National Guard. He got the vaccine last month, but got sick anyway.
Doctors still say to get the vaccine.
Remember to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and to stay home when you are stuck. So Brooks said he was infected – on an excursion of his children in a science museum.
"There are a handful of parents who have flu, so we can all assume it was there," he said.
"The flu is extremely contagious, so the best you can do is lock up when you have it and wait until it's over," Merrell said.
Officials said if your symptoms do not disappear within seven to ten days, see a doctor.