Hattiesburg doctor warns flu season isn't over yet

Hattiesburg doctor warns flu season isn't over yet

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Mississippi State Department of Health confirmed the second pediatric influenza death for the 2016-2017 flu season. The death happened right here in South Mississippi.

Hattiesburg Doctor Lara Otaigbe said don't let the warm temperatures and sunny skies fool you because we are still in flu season.

As the physician at Southern Medical Care, Otaigbe said flu season is from October to May, and it's not unusual to find a patient with the flu even this late in the season.

"Flu tends to affect extremes of ages more severely," Otaigbe said.

She said that means the elderly and pediatric ages.

"Although we define pediatric age group as ages zero to 18, children ages five or less are more severely affected," Otaigbe said.

Otaigbe offers these reminders for flu season.

"Flu is spread by respiratory droplets, so you don't actually have to touch the person, you just have to be in the same vicinity," Otaigbe said.

She encouraged parents to think about how your little ones play.

"They huddle, don't they? They have their heads close together, they are looking at things, and you just have that breathing going all around," Otaigbe said.

She said keep in mind an individual is contagious up to two days before any signs of illness are shown.

"And sometimes up to five days after being sick," Otaigbe said.

Otaigbe added that's why it's important to remember your flu shot.

"One of the things that really breaks my heart is when people say,'I got the flu shot and I got the flu!' You really can't get the flu from the flu shot," Otaigbe said.

Finally, She said what may surprise you is as the flu dies down in the United States it's on the raise in other places.

"If you travel some where where the flu is ramping up you can bring it back here," Otaigbe said.

Otagibe said the flu shot is made from "killed flu" so it's not a live vaccine, so you may have flu like symptoms, but you won't get the flu from the shot.

She said other preventative measures are common sense: if you feel sick don't go out, don't go to school or work. Lastly, she said wash your hands or use an antibacterial.