Mississippi reports early flu season activity

The Mississippi State Department of Health warned state residents about an increase in influenza activity over the past few weeks, according to report on Monday.

The MSDH reminded all Mississippians about the importance of vaccination against influenza. National Influenza Vaccination Week, which took place between December 8 and Saturday, is a national observance established to note the importance of encouraging flu vaccination through the holiday season, into January and beyond.

"We are seeing evidence of influenza activity throughout the state," Thomas Dobbs, the MSDH state epidemiologist, said. "Seasonal flu usually peaks from January to March in Mississippi, but infections can be seen before and after peak season. All Mississippians should take the threat of flu very seriously and get vaccinated now."

Seasonal flu vaccination is recommended for all individuals six months and older, particularly for at risk groups for flu complications, like pregnant women, people with chronic illnesses, adults 50 and older and young children. The MSDH said vaccination of caregivers of vulnerable individuals and healthcare personnel is very important.

Seasonal flu symptoms include cough, fever and extreme fatigue. Muscle aches, headache, sore throat and a runny or stuffy nose are other potential flu symptoms. In rare cases, severe symptoms and death can also occur.