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Mississippi enters peak flu season this month

Flu activity has increased sharply in Mississippi as well as nationwide over the last two weeks, according to surveillance by the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) and the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The predominant flu strain circulating this season is H1N1, which can particularly affect children.

Children under 4 years of age now have the highest rate of hospitalization for flu than any other age group in the nation. In addition, 13 U.S. pediatric influenza deaths have been reported for the current flu season by the CDC as of December 29. In Mississippi, one pediatric flu death has been reported so far this season.

Older adults are also vulnerable to the flu, and outbreaks of flu in nursing homes have been reported to MSDH.

Mississippi is now in peak flu season, which can extend into March. Vaccination is the best protection against seasonal flu. For children and adults, it can lower the risk of infection, make illness less severe, reduce the risk of hospitalization, and save lives. Last year, 80 percent of pediatric influenza deaths nationally were in children who were not vaccinated against the flu.

Get flu vaccinations for children at any county health department, your physician or a pharmacy as soon as you can for the best protection this season.