Flu season has arrived and health officials are urging residents to get their flu vaccination.
Although flu season usually peaks January through March, Mississippi has already seen early flu activity, according to Dr. Paul Byers, Mississippi State Department of Health State Epidemiologist.
The Mississippi State Department of Health has made pediatric flu shots available at all of the county clinics.
Byers said, "The best prevention this season is the flu vaccination and we recommend that for anyone six months and older."
In a press release sent to The Bolivar Commercial, Byers said, "It's important for children as well as adults to receive the vaccine this season, especially children with underlying problems such as neuro-developmental disorders among others."
While vaccination is important, Byers gave a few other tips he feels is important for everyone to know this season.
Byers said it is important to make sure to cover all sneezes and coughs even if it's just a cold.
"Stay at home if you're sick, that is for all adults and children, especially children, and if you have a fever, stay home at least 24 hours before leaving the house," said Byers.
"Please wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands because we know flu can be transmitted what way as well."
Byers said these infection control measures can reduce the spread of flu and should be taken whether or not individuals are vaccinated.
Nationwide, there are up to 200,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 to 49,000 deaths each year caused by the flu, according to the MSDH.
Those 18 and under who are eligible for the Vaccines for Children program can receive flu vaccination for $10. Insurance, Medicaid, and Children's Health Insurance Program is accepted for children's flu shots.
"If you have been vaccinated and end up sick, it cuts down on risk of complication that can occur if you are infected," Byers said.
For more information on the flu or where to receive a flu shot in Bolivar County, contact the local health department or visit the MSDH website at www.healthyms.com/flu.