Last week the Mississippi State Department of Health confirmed the first flu case in state of the 2014-2015 season.
According to a MSDH release, the first case involves a Marshall County teen.
“This not only indicates that flu has been detected in the state, but it also serves as a reminder that now is the best time to get your flu shot,” MSDH State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs said in the release. “The flu shot takes one to two weeks to produce immunity, and although flu season usually peaks in January through March, it sometimes reaches high levels as early as December.”
It is estimated that 36,000 people die and more than 200,000 are hospitalized each year because of the flu, the release states.
The MSDH tracks flu activity through the Influenza-Like Illness Sentinel Surveillance System. It is comprised of Mississippi healthcare providers who report the percentage of people with flu-like symptoms to a database.
The MSDH recommends flu vaccinations for anyone age six months and older. Young children, adults 50 and older, pregnant women and people with chronic illnesses are at a high risk of contracting the flu.
There are several different types of vaccinations including:
• Seasonal flu vaccination for $30.
• Flu nasal mist for $35.
• High-dose flu vaccination for people 65 and older for $55.
• Pneumococcal vaccination for $83.
The MSDH accepts the following forms of insurance including Medicaid, Medicare and a state and school employees’ health insurance plan.
For people 18 and younger, MSDH will bill Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program and all private health insurers for children’s vaccines.
People eligible for Vaccines for Children or CHIP can receive the vaccination for $10.
The MSDH recommends that people use basic infection control measures including covering the mouth when coughing and sneezing, staying home when sick and washing hands frequently.
For more information about the flu, visit the MSDH website at www.healthyms.com/flu.
The Pearl River County Health Department is located at 7547 Hwy. 11 N., Carriere.
Contact them by calling 601-798-5354. Their office hours are Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.