Pine Belt doctors discuss COVID-19 and flu

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - As we approach the winter months, our Pine Belt health experts are reminding folks to get the flu shot.

We spoke with Dr. W. Mark Horne, the chief medical officer for South Central Regional Medical Center in Laurel and president of the Mississippi State Medical Association about the topic.

According to Horne, we have already seen some flu cases around the community and there is no reason for people to wait to get the flu vaccine.

“The flu is beginning to circulate in our community,” Horne said. “We don’t want to have two bad viral illnesses simultaneously. And for one of those we have a vaccine available right now, so get it today.”

Horne added that COVID-19 and the flu have similar symptom profiles and said the only way to know the difference is through testing.

Speaking of COVID-19, a new study on the deadly virus is providing new insight into age groups impacted by it.

Dr. Rambod Rouhbakhsh with the Hattiesburg Clinic and Forrest General Hospital said the American Academy of Pediatrics reported some new information regarding children and COVID-19.

“There’s some interesting studies that have come out in the past week,” Rouhbakhsh said. “One reported that children now account for about 11% of all COVID-19 cases confirmed in the U.S. But the good news about that is the antibodies that the children have from other coronaviruses are likely to explain why they don’t become infected as often and as severe.”

Rouhbakhsh added people should continue wearing face masks as we continue to battle the pandemic.

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