POPLARVILLE — he Mississippi State Department of Health in its latest figures says 50 flu cases have been reported to the agency through Dec. 10. No cases so far have been reported in Pearl River County.
However, a state health official said that flu cases are arriving early this year and urged citizens to get their flu shots early, too. Flu shots are available at the Pearl River County Health Department, 7547 U.S. Highway 11 North, Carriere, just north of the Pearl River Central High School on the west side of the highway.
Flu shots are now available for everyone six months and older at all health departments, including in Pearl River County, health officials said. This year health officials are urging everyone six months old and older to get the shot, especially those at risk from influenza complications: Young children, adults 50 and older, pregnant women and those with chronic illnesses.
At the Pearl River County Health Department, a flu shot for children six months to 18 is $10, adult flu shots are $25, and specialized shot, designed to boost immunity for those 65 and over is $50.
Health officials requested that Medicare and Medicaid recipients bring their cards with them to the clinic.
State health officials have reported cases a month earlier than usual and an increase in activity, said Thomas Dodd, MSHD state epidemiologist.We are seeing widespread influenza activity throughout the state, he said. 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.
Health officials also urged those susceptible to pneumonia, especially the elderly, to get a pneumonia vaccination. Pneumonia is the deadliest complication from flu. Over 600 Mississippians a year die from flu and pneumonia, says Dodd. “If you have not had a recent pneumonia vaccination, check with your doctor or county health department to get one,” he said.
The pneumonia vaccine is available at the health department for $72. Officials said symptoms of seasonal flu include fever, cough and often extreme fatigue. Sore throat, headache, muscle aches, and a runny or stuffy nose also are often present. More severe symptoms and death can occur. Officials also said that 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.