OUR OPINION: Flu vaccine still urged even as season advances

By NEMS Daily Journal

Mississippi’s unusually high incidence of people ill with influenza-like-symptoms and diagnosed flu cases places it among the states closely tracked by the Centers for Disease Control to monitor the public’s health, but CDC as well as Northeast Mississippi physicians want people to get flu shots even as the flu season advances.
The CDC’s website reports that ILI, as it identifies flu-like symptoms, is highest in the Southeast and South Central U.S.
Mississippi is among 16 states and New York City reporting high ILI activity, reflecting what North Mississippi Medical Center physician Dr. Edward Hill and public health officials also have reported.
The high-activity states are Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia, a broad geographic spread.
CDC says “everyone who is at least 6 months of age should get a flu vaccine this season. It’s especially important for some people to get vaccinated.”
Those people include:
• People who are at high risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia if they get sick with the flu
• People who have certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
• Pregnant women.
• People 65 years and older.
• People who live with or care for others who are high risk of developing serious complications, including household contacts and caregivers of people with certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
CDC reports that Influenza seasons are unpredictable, and can begin as early as October and have substantial activity as late as May.
It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to provide protection against the flu.
CDC, which is the chief monitor of the nation’s health, says flu vaccine is needed every year because flu viruses are constantly changing.
There’s treatment for people who contract influenza: Certain anti-viral drugs can treat flu illness. They can make illness milder and help people feel better faster. They also can prevent serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia.
Personal responsibility plays a big role in preventing flu and controlling outbreaks.

Click video to hear audio