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September 28, 2012

West Nile precaution is still necessary, officials say

CHICKASHA — No new cases of West Nile have been reported in Grady County, but citizens should still be taking proper precautions to stay safe, according to Sharon Page, administrative programs officer at the Grady County Health Department.

"We must have a freeze before the season is over," Page said. "Precautions should still be taken."

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health's website, West Nile season runs from May to November. From July to October, people are at a higher risk of being exposed to infected mosquitoes. Although anyone can be bitten, people over the age of 50 have a greater risk of serious symptoms. As of Sept. 25, nine deaths and 145 non-fatal cases were reported in Oklahoma due to West Nile.  

The Oklahoma State Department of Health provided a few simple prevention tips online, such as reapplying insect repellent, preventing items such as buckets and tarps from holding standing water, trimming grass and weeds and repairing leaky lawn irrigation spouts.

The Grady County Health Department is hosting a flu clinic on Monday, Oct. 1 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Medicare clients can receive the flu shot for free and all others will be charged $25.

"The flu spreads easily and can cause serious problems, especially for very young children, older people and people with certain long-term medical conditions like asthma and diabetes," Page explained. "The flu spreads when infected people talk, cough or sneeze and droplets with virus in them land in the mouths or noses of people nearby."

You can also get the flu by touching an object like a doorknob or a desk that someone who is infected has touched. That is why it is important to take proper precautions, stay home if you are sick and allow yourself time to get better, said Page.

"Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick," Page said. "Flu symptoms include the chills, cough, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and fever."

The flu can be mild or very serious, according to Page, so getting the vaccination is vital.

Vacations are also available at Walgreens, Wal-Mart and CVS.

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