First Flu-Related Deaths Reported In Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA (KFSM) -- The flu season is off to a quick and dangerous start, especially in Oklahoma. So far, two people have died from the virus in the state.

"It's way worse this year already than it has been in previous years, so yeah it's kind of a scary thing," pharmacist Chris Isbell said.

According to the state health department, two people have died from the flu and 135 have been hospitalized with the virus so far this season.

"I didnt realize it was getting so bad with the flu," Jeanie Toddy said.

Toddy said she has no plans of getting a flu vaccine.

"I've never had the flu, and I just don't trust the flu shots, I guess," she said.

Gary Hedgepth said he was been hit bad with the virus a few years ago and always gets a flu shot now.

"I've been raising three grand kids and they're bringing a lot of germs home from school-- the flu, strep throat, things like that," he said.

Health experts recommend getting the flu shot sooner rather than later.

"I think it's important to get it just because the flu season is so bad this year," Isbell said. "It's already hit hard."

Doctors say the flu vaccination can lessen the severity of your symptoms if you do get sick. No deaths have been reported from the virus in Arkansas, but 64 people have been hospitalized.

Many people are concerned that this year's flu shot is only 10 percent effective, but the health department wants to clarify, that was only from one study out of Australia and only one flu strain. A flu shot protects you from three or four different flu viruses. The strain in question is the Influenza A (H3N2) virus. The flu shot also protects against Influenza A (H1N1) and one or two Influenza B strains, depending on which vaccine you get.