By The Associated Press
JACKSON — Mississippi Department of Health officials said Monday that the state’s first reported case of flu has been confirmed in Tate County.
State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier said the report should serve as a reminder that it is time to get flu shots.
“The flu shot takes one to two weeks to produce immunity, and although flu season usually peaks in January through March, it sometimes reaches high levels as early as December,” Currier said in a news release.
Children 6 months through 18 years can receive flu vaccinations for $10 through the Health Department’s Vaccines for Children program.
Seasonal flu vaccinations for adults are $25 at county health departments. High-dosage vaccinations for those 65 and older are available for $50.
Flu activity is monitored through the Influenza-like Illness Sentinel Surveillance System, made up of health care providers in Mississippi report the percentage of patients with flulike symptoms to a statewide database, according to the news release.
State health officials use this information to determine the spread of influenza in Mississippi. Health care providers also submit samples for testing to the state lab.
Basic infection control measures can help reduce the spread of flu, Currier said in the news release. She said measures include covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing, staying at home when you or your children are sick and washing your hands frequently.