JACKSON, Miss. – Every year thousands of people are hospitalized or even die because of the flu.
Here in Mississippi the first case of the flu has been confirmed in the state.
Now as flu season heats up state health officials are urging people to protect themselves against the virus epidemiologist about what this means.
“It really is a reminder that we are entering now the beginning of flu season for Mississippi,” Mississippi Epidemiologist, Dr. Paul Byers said.
The State Department’s influenza surveillance system detected the first case of flu for the 2016-2017 flu season.
“Flu season is very unpredictable it’s much too early right now to really have an idea of how this flu season is going to go or what the severity may be,” Byers said.
He says Mississippi’s flu season runs from October to as late as March he recommends getting flu shots as soon as you can.
“Even if you do get the flu after vaccination it’s been shown that it can reduce the severity, it can cut down on the death associated with influenza and the hospitalizations,” Byers explained.
Symptoms can range from mild to severe even leading to other illnesses and death. Dr. Byers says basic infection control measures should be taken even if you choose not to get the flu shot.
“You want to cover your sneezes and your coughs wash your hands frequently, that’s how flu can be transmitted,” Byers said.