HATTIESBURG (WDAM)- An estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last winter, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means it was the deadliest flu season in more than four decades.
With months to go in this year’s season, a Forrest General doctor wants to share what you need to know about this year’s flu activity.
The CDC said flu viruses are constantly changing. Dr. Austin Worley, Forrest General Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and Family Medicine Resident, said one of those changes is how it’s affecting kids this year. He said it hits them hard, mimicking a stomach virus.
“In the pediatric population, specifically, they can have more GI symptoms the nausea, vomiting, diarrhea,” Worley said.
He said if you notice any of those signs in your kids, get them checked out right away. He added the symptoms are the same for adults.
“We see more respiratory symptoms, cough, along with high fever, muscle aches, head ache, the soar throat,” Worley said.
Worley said when it comes to protecting yourself against the flu, you should know your vaccination options. For instance, the nasal spray isn’t for everyone.
“The nasal spray is a valid option for certain populations," Worley said. "I think the age range is from 2 to 49 years of age, and there are certain populations where it is contraindicated,” Worley said.
Another thing that has remained the same is the shot is strongly recommended for those with respiratory disease, or immunocompromised and others, according to Worley.
“Children, the elderly, if you are over 65 years of age, and pregnant women need to have the flu shot,” Worley said.
The flu isn’t hitting Mississippi as hard as our neighbors, but we still have months to go.
Lastly, Worley said the flu is spread through respiratory droplets, so cover up when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands often, try not to touch your face and stay away from those who have the flu as much as you can.