Battling the flu

It appears a small number of flu cases have been diagnosed in South Mississippi, but it’s still not too late to protect you and your family from getting the flu this year.

It’s that time of year again: flu season. While this year’s bug hasn’t troubled South Mississippi as of yet, local doctors are still on standby. Dr. Barry Willbrandt said, “We haven’t seen a lot of flu cases. We’ve seen a little bit sneaking in, but not a lot yet. When the flu season starts, you know it. Within one day you go from zero flu cases to 20. It comes in a hurry.”

Last year, the flu claimed 80,000 lives in the U.S., the deadliest flu season in 40 years according to the CDC. Doctors are hoping history won’t repeat itself. One of the most effective safeguards is a flu shot. “You’ve got to do something to keep yourself from getting sick with it. That, without a doubt, is a flu shot. You don’t catch the flu from getting the flu shot. The side effects are very, very rare,” said Dr. Willbrandt.

The young, elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are those most susceptible to the flu. Doctors tell News 25 it takes about two weeks for the flu vaccine to take effect, so now would be a good time to get your flu shot. “They have to change the flu vaccine every year because the virus mutates. We don’t know if we picked the right one this year, but even if we picked the wrong one you are better off with that than trying to fight the flu on your own,” said Dr. Willbrandt.

Dr. Willbrandt says the flu starts with a rapid onset of fever, along with a runny nose, watery eyes, and body aches. You’re most contagious before you even know you’re sick. “Stay home when you’ve got it because all you have to do is sneeze or touch something. Someone touches it, they’ve got the flu. It’s highly contagious.”

Categories: Featured, Health, Local News, News

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