The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) is reporting an increase in influenza activity over the past several weeks, more than a month before the typical beginning of peak flu season.
"We are seeing widespread influenza activity throughout the state," said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs. "Seasonal flu usually peaks from January to March in Mississippi, but infections can be seen before and after peak season. Mississippians should take the threat of flu very seriously and get vaccinated now."
In recognition of National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), the MSDH reminds all Mississippians that the flu vaccine is the best protection against influenza. NIVW is a national observance that was established to highlight the importance of encouraging influenza vaccination after the holiday season into January and beyond.
The seasonal flu vaccine is recommended for anyone age six months and older. Those particularly at risk for influenza complications include young children, adults 50 and older, pregnant women, and those with chronic illnesses.
Seasonal flu vaccinations are available at all county health departments. Vaccinations for adults are $25. Those 18 and under can receive seasonal flu vaccinations for $10 through the Vaccines for Children program. High-dosage vaccinations for those 65 and older are available for $50. The pneumonia vaccine is also available for $72. Medicare and Medicaid recipients are asked to bring their cards with them to the clinic.
Symptoms of seasonal flu include fever, cough, and often, extreme fatigue. Sore throat, headache, muscle aches, and a runny or stuffy nose are also often present. More severe symptoms and death can also occur.
While vaccination is the best protection, basic infection control measures can also reduce the spread of flu. These measures include covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing, staying at home when you or your children are sick, and washing your hands frequently.
To locate a county health department clinic in your area or for more information on flu and pneumonia, visit the MSDH website at www.HealthyMS.com.
Follow MSDH by e-mail and social media at HealthyMS.com/connect.
Press Contact: MSDH Office of Communications, (601) 576-7667
Note to media: After hours or during emergencies, call 1-866-HLTHY4U (1-866-458-4948)