USM clinic sees patients suffering from flu-like symptoms

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi's Beth Smith Clinic has seen a steady flow of patients suffering from flu-like symptoms.

"Yes, we have been busy here but that's not unusual for this time of year," said Dr. Virginia Crawford, director of Student Health Services at Southern Miss. "Some of the patients we're seeing need antibiotics but most do not. The majority just has to wait it out and can take some over-the-counter medications to relieve symptoms."

Crawford noted decongestants, such as Sudafed, require a doctor's prescription, as a result patients who need the medication should come to the university clinic.

A year ago Crawford and her staff were treating an outbreak of the H1N1 (swine flu) virus that eventually became a global pandemic. Fortunately, the 2011 influenza season is producing a similar challenge.

"This is not a new strain of flu that we're seeing this year," said Crawford. "It is primarily the Influenza B virus that is easily covered by the flu vaccine."

Crawford's advice for those who have not received a flu shot? "Wash your hands often and see a doctor if you have a fever, body aches or a severe cold."

The flu vaccine is available at the Bedie Smith Clinic.

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