Doctors offices and emergency rooms have been busy lately as the U.S. continues to deal with one of the worst flu seasons in years.
A particularly nasty strain of the flu virus is hitting communities across the U.S. and in East Mississippi pretty hard.
The strain is the H3N2 virus and it’s more deadly than the swine flu.
“We’ve had a lot of emergency room visits with the flu, urgent care visits, increased clinic visits,” Neshoba Medical Pavilion Dr. Heather Cannon said.
The Neshoba Medical Pavilion in Philadelphia is treating patients with flu symptoms.
“It starts around late October, November and goes through about February or March,” Dr. Cannon said.
Patients are desperate for relief.
“High fever, body aches, generally feeling very tired,” Dr. Cannon said.
Flu symptoms are generally much worse if the patient didn’t get a flu shot.
“If you have the vaccine and you contract the flu, your symptoms are less than if you did not get the vaccine,” Dr. Cannon said.
Although the flu vaccine is typically less than 50 percent effective doctors still recommend it. If you don’t get the shot, doctors say don’t help spread the virus
“If you are sick with the flu and you have a cough, cough into a napkin or tissue, throw it away,” Dr. Cannon said. “People are bad about coughing into their hands and then they don’t wash their hands, and then, of course, we transmit the flu.”
Doctors say it’s important to stay home until you’re completely over the flu.
“You should stay home until you’ve had no fever for 24 hours without Tylenol, without Motrin and that may take five to seven days,” Dr. Cannon said.
Even though there has been an increase in flu activity, it doesn’t appear to be as bad, locally, as expected.
“We have had a lot of flu cases, but I don’t think it has been a tremendous amount more than we’ve seen in the past,” Dr. Cannon said.
But it’s still important to take precautions because flu season runs through March.
The number of flu deaths reported in Mississippi last year aren’t available, but state health department officials say at this point, they are not aware of any pediatric flu deaths this season.