Doctor and pharmacist talk about flu season in South Mississippi - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Doctor and pharmacist talk about flu season in South Mississippi

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

We are about halfway through the flu season and according to The Center for Disease Control 29 people have died and the number of those hospitalized from the flu continues to rise.

The CDC said it is shaping up to be an above than normal flu season and Gulfport Walgreens Pharmacy Manager Jennifer Hopwood agrees. She said she has seen more flu patients this year than ever and that is why she spent her Saturday giving out free shots at the Kroc Center.

"This is probably been the worst season I have seen of active flu cases, Hopwood said." Normally we don't run out of the actual medication to treat the flu, tamiflu, we actually ran out of suspension had to obtain it from another source, so it has been a pretty bad season."

The flu vaccine has also been hard to come by. Around 135 million doses were made this year and there are only about seven million left across the country.

"We got really low on the vaccine, some of our stores have run out of the vaccine, but Walgreens has made exceptional provisions to obtain more of the vaccine this late in the season to be able to facilitate and provide for the community," Hopwood said.

Dr. Belinda Alexander with Pass Road Internal Medicine Clinic said she has treated a lot of patients with flu like symptoms and stresses that it is important to get vaccinated.

"The flu is up and this may actually be a peak in Mississippi however it's best to go ahead and get your flu shot as soon as possible," Alexander said. "Flu season lasts from October and sometimes it can extend until May, it can be that bad."

Even if you have already had the flu you are still advised to get the vaccine.

Hopwood said, "If you are exposed to it and your immune system is down for some reason you can still get it even though you've already had it."

Since the flu and the cold are both respiratory illnesses it is hard to tell the difference but according to the CDC with the flu symptoms such as fever, body aches, extreme tiredness, and dry cough are more common and intense.

If you think you have the flu you should go to the doctor immediately and be tested.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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