Oklahoma health officials prepare for flu season

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — After a record-breaking 63 people died as a result of the flu during the 2013-14 flu season, Oklahoma health officials preparing for the coming season say educating the public is key to reducing both the deaths and the number of people who contract the virus.

Oklahoma State Department of Health epidemiologist Becky Coffman says public awareness and persuading residents to get a flu shot are vital.

The flu season is late September through early May and Coffman says the strains expected this season are the same as last season. She says companies are just now starting to ship flu vaccines to pharmacies and doctors while health departments will likely begin receiving the vaccine in late September or early October.

The previous record of 46 flu deaths was set in 2009.

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