Mississippi Department of Health releases flu cases report

A new report by The State Department of Health shows a decrease in the number of flu cases since the first of the year. However, a Hattiesburg Clinic health care provider we spoke with said it is still too early to determine if the dreaded flu bug will taper off for the remainder of the season .

Getting the vaccine to protect yourself from the flu is no fun, but contracting the virus and possibly spreading it to others, is even worse.

Nurse Practitioner Breanne Leathers said, "We've seen a rise in the number, earlier in the season.
Over the past few weeks, it seems like it has lessened a little bit, but we are still seeing steady cases."

The report also shows, a number of flu cases spreading through institutional settings, which not only raises concerns about health care providers getting vaccinated but visitors who come in and out of  facilities.

"I guess the scary part of this season is, that there has been more outbreaks within nursing homes, and psychiatric care facilities," said Leathers. "So, we know that the flu is more prevalent in the community and health care workers are the likely culprit. So, its important for health care workers to get vaccinated as well."

 Leathers said if you start to feel cold or flu like symptoms, get to the doctor right away. If you do have the flu, you must start the anti-viral medication within the first 48 hours, for it to work.

"This season the typical strain that we have been seeing is type A, which is H3N2," and Leathers said, "It has been a close match to the vaccine this year."

A little insurance for those who remain skeptical. If you already have a cold, or have a fever and feel achy, Leathers said you need to stay home so you don't spread it to other people.

When you get the flu vaccine it takes about 1 to 2 weeks before you are fully protected. Depending on the person, you may experience some symptoms for a day or two after.