The HSE is urging people in at-risk groups to get vaccinated against influenza.
He said: "Recent national uptake figures indicate that 68.5% of people aged 65 and over who hold a medical card or GP visit card received the flu vaccine during the 2018-2019 flu season, a substantial increase on previous year when the uptake rate was 57.6%. I would urge all the at-risk groups, including healthcare staff, to get the flu vaccine", Dr Fitzgerald said.
Workers with the health department also want to make it easy for people to get a flu shot. Nine people died from flu related illness in the South East during that period.
Talk to your health care provider for more information about the flu vaccine.
"As much as 10 percent of the US workforce will get the flu this year, with 17 million workdays lost as a result", said Cline. "We encourage every Oklahoman to protect themselves and their families by getting their annual flu shot as soon as possible".
Margaret Quigley, Director of Midwifery, UL Hospitals Group, said: "The vaccine is the best means we have of fighting flu and of reducing infection and associated illnesses and hospitalisations". This is particularly important for those at the highest risk for having complications from flu, including children under 5, adults aged 65 and older, pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease or asthma.
The flu vaccine should give a good degree of protection against these strains this winter but the virus can also mutate, making the impact unpredictable.
The symptoms of flu usually develop over a matter of a few hours - and include a high temperature, sore muscles, dry cough, headache and severe fatigue or tiredness. Kristin Englund explained to Fox 8's Stefani Schaefer what's expected this year and how you can best protect yourself from the flu.
Community members should keep in mind to always cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze and wash their hands frequently.