Influenza activity has recently increased in Mississippi and throughout the U.S., according to a health advisory by Mississippi Department of Health released in late December.
Health care facilities, particularly nursing homes, have reported more outbreaks in recent weeks, MSDH noted. This could be for a number of reasons, one of which indicated by health officials is that the strain of many influenza cases being reported now are H3N2, which is the predominant strain in the U.S.
“Influenza vaccine is still recommended for unvaccinated persons and can prevent hospitalizations and deaths even when there is reduced vaccine effectiveness,” stated the MSDH.
Previous seasons of H3N2 are associated with increased hospitalizations and deaths in individuals 65 years of age and up and in young children.
“Due to the potential impact on the elderly and nursing home residents, young children and those at higher risk of complications, early recognition and treatment of influenza with neuraminidase inhibitor (NAI) antiviral medications is especially important,” the MSDH advisory said.
Symptoms of the flu include fever or chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, and in some cases, vomiting and diarrhea.
If you think you may have the flu or would like to be vaccinated, please contact your primary care provider. If you live in the South Mississippi and don’t have a primary care provider, let us help you find one by calling (601) 261-3518.