Flu activity is on the rise both at the state wide level and and nationally according to a release from the Mississippi Department of Health.
According to the MSDH the flu is impacting children ages 4 and under the most, with more hospitalizations in that age group than any other. Nationwide, there have been 11 pediatric influenza deaths so far including one in Mississippi.
“We’re seeing geographic spread as well an increase in flu activity, and we are receiving reports of nursing home outbreaks,” said MSDH State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs.
The most common strain this season, H1N1, affects children most often.
From the MSDH:
Flu shots are recommended for all those six months and older. Those 18 and under who are eligible for the Vaccines for Children program can receive flu vaccination for $10. Insurance, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is accepted for children’s flu shots.
Only those adults who are underinsured or uninsured and who meet certain high-risk criteria qualify for a flu vaccine at MSDH county health department clinics. Flu shots for insured adults are now widely available through private physicians, pharmacies, and retailers.
While vaccination is the best protection, basic infection control measures can also reduce the spread of flu and should be taken whether or not individuals are vaccinated. 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.From the MSDH
To locate a county health department clinic in your area or for more information on flu, visit the MSDH website at HealthyMS.com/flu.