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TUPELO, Miss. – (WCBI) It’s an all too common sight, long lines of people waiting to get flu shots. By all accounts, the flu season has hit early and hard.

“In fact I think we have seen about double the number of cases we expect at this time of the year.”

Northeast Mississippi is following a national trend. Although flu season peaks in the first two months of the year, by November, influenza was severe and widespread throughout the southeast.

Doctors say each flu season is unique and there’s no reason for the spike in cases. However, there are common steps people can take to protect themselves. First on the list, get the flu vaccine.

“We are lucky to have the flu shot, the flu shot this time is the right strain that should be effective for most people .”

Basic hygiene is also important.

“If you do have some respiratory illnesses, do not cough in the open, use a handkerchief, , wash hands regularly and several times. ”

Flu symptoms include fever, cough, fatigue, head and body aches and runny nose.

Administrators at NMMC’s main campus are taking extra precautions to avoid spreading the flu. The hospital is limiting visitation to one visitor per family member at a time.

also, those who have the flu symptoms are being asked to stay away from the hospital until they have been symptom free for seven days.

Hospital staff members who have not received an influenza vaccine will be asked to wear a mask until the flu season has passed.

The Centers for Disease Control are reporting widespread flu activity in 41 states.

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