Flu is a seasonal threat that can result in extended illness, hospitalization, and in some cases - death. Some symptoms include fever, body aches, and runny nose.
Although flu season peaks in January through March, doctors often see many cases in December - making now a good time to get vaccinated.
Dr. Mary Currier is the State Health Officer. She was first in line when the Mississippi State Department of Health offered flu shots to employees. She says vaccination is the best way to prevent infection.
"If you don't want to be sick from the flu, or if you don't want to be hospitalized or get pneumonia from the flu, it's very important to be vaccinated. It's also important because if you get a flu vaccine, you're less likely to spread it to other people, so you're protecting yourself and your protecting your loved ones," says Currier.
Health officials encourage basic infection control - meaning covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing, and staying home when you or your children are sick. Washing hands frequently can also reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
However, State Epidemiologist, Dr. Thomas Dobbs says it's possible to spread the virus without even knowing.
"One of the things that's really scary about the flu, is you're actually contagious for up to one day before you're even symptomatic. So, people can be spreading the flu, and not even know that they're sick," Dobbs says.
The Health Department says young children, adults 65 and older, and pregnant women are more vulnerable to the flu virus, but it's recommended that everyone six months and up get a flu shot.