• 55°

Flu cases spike locally, across state

Flu activity has increased locally in recent days, with King’s Daughters Medical Center reporting high numbers at its clinics.

Across the state flu activity has risen as well, according to media reports. In Clinton, 500 students were out recently with the flu, the school district reported. On the Coast, pharmacy data shows a spike in the number of people seeking medicine to treat the virus.

The Biloxi-Gulfport area was one of the top 10 markets in the nation for increase in flu activity, Walgreens reported. Mississippi was in the top 10 for flu activity.

“It’s very important to get your flu shot to protect yourself and those around you from getting the flu,” said MSDH State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “It’s not too late, as peak season in Mississippi usually starts this month and lasts through March.”

KDMC reported a total of 173 flu cases since Jan. 1 at is pediatric and medical clinics. About 86 percent of those cases were reported since Jan. 14. A hospital spokesman said it was not too late to get the flu vaccine.

Flu vaccines are recommended for everyone over 6 months of age. The vaccine can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends taking the following steps to stop the spread of germs:

• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

• While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

• If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)

• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

• Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.