The Mississippi State Department of Health says that they have seen an increase in flu activity throughout the state over the past several weeks.
“While this year's flu season is in the early stages, it's picking up quickly as we approach the typical peak season in Mississippi,” said MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs.
“The flu shot takes one to two weeks to produce immunity, so it's definitely not too late to get your flu shot. Everyone should take the threat of flu very seriously and get vaccinated now.”
In recognition of National Influenza Vaccination Week, the MSDH wants to remind all Mississippians that vaccination is the best protection against the flu.
Nationwide, an estimated 36,000 people die and more than 200,000 are hospitalized each year because of the flu.
Dobbs says the the primary strain being seen in Mississippi this season is H3N2, which can cause more severe illness in older individuals and young children than other strains.
MSDH says that it is also very important to practice basic personal hygiene such as covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, washing your hands frequently with soap and water, and staying home when you're sick.
Seasonal flu vaccination 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.
For adults, the different types of vaccinations available this year are as follows:
· Seasonal flu vaccination for $30;
· Flu nasal mist for $35;
· High-dose flu vaccination for those 65 and older for $55; and
· Pneumococcal vaccination for $83.
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/flu.
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