STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – It’s mid-peak flu season, and influenza cases continue to grow across the country.
Mississippi is no exception – especially when it comes to young people.
Doctors in the Golden Triangle say their case load is average for this time of year. But this flu season, the waiting room is filled with a different generation.
“Folks in their teens and 20s,” said emergency room physician, Dr. Keith McCoy. “A little more prevalent than the older population right now. I think we’re still at the beginning of the flu season though. We haven’t seen the full effect yet.”
Mississippi’s health department says it’s seeing serious flu complications in young adults, including deaths.
Late last month, health officials reported the first pediatric influenza death in the state for this year’s season.
“It always seems like there’s more younger people with it because they’re in school and exposed to it more often,” said Dr. Jack Hollister, a family practitioner. “I think younger people are a little less prone to get flu shots too, which makes them more likely to get it.”
Now doctors are urging parents to get flu shots for their children – especially with school starting back this week.
“If they bring it home and you’re the parent and you haven’t gotten a flu shot, you’re going to get it, and it’s awfully hard to take care of a sick child when you’re sick yourself,” Hollister said.
And if you think you have the flu, the sooner you see your physician, the better.
“We recommend that folks see their regular doctor as soon as they can if they develop flu-like symptoms – fever, headache, sore throat, body aches, and sometimes a cough,” McCoy said.
With that cough comes a risk for pneumonia.
Doctors say the best way to keep from getting the flu is to get the shot. Also, wash your hands often, cover your cough and stay home when you’re sick.