Over 600 Mississippians die every year from the flu. MPB's Paul Boger reports the Mississippi State Department of Health is reminding residents to get the flu vaccine.
The weather is getting cooler, and Mississippians are starting to get sick.
Dr. Mary Currier is the State Health Officer.
"Flu season in Mississippi is usually January, February, March." said Dr. Currier. "Sometimes it starts earlier then that. We've had flu cases really all year round, because the flu has to live somewhere even during the summer. The season where we see a lot of flu in Mississippi usually starts in December or January."
That's why the State Department of Health is recommending Mississippians prepare for the flu season by getting vaccinated.
Dr. Currier says vaccination is the best way to prevent illness.
"There are a couple reason to get the flu vaccine every year." explains Dr. Currier. "One is the flu strain is that goes around changes every year. So, it changes a little bit every year. Sometimes it's the same as the year before, but the vaccine itself really doesn't last for the full year. So, you have to get vaccinated every year."
According to the Department of Health, Children under five, adults over 50, pregnant women and the chronically ill are the most susceptible to complications brought on by influenza. However, the shot is recommended for anyone older then 6 months.
Dr. Thomas Hobbs is the state epidemiologist.
"The flu vaccine is really good at preventing illness." said Dr. Hobbs. "It's not perfect, but in addition to preventing getting sick at all, if people do get the flu after the shot then the flu's severity is much, much less and doesn't last as long. There are added benefits besides preventing the flu all together, and it also prevents deaths and hospitalizations particularly in older folks.
Seasonal flu shots are available at all State Department of Health county clinics, and some pharmacies.