SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Health experts say now is the perfect time of year to get your flu shot.
"The flu shot is absolutely your best protection against the flu," said MSDH State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier. "The vaccine takes one to two weeks to produce immunity."
Mississippi State Department of Health officials say that, while flu season may peak in January through March, it sometimes reaches high levels as early as December.
The seasonal flu vaccination is recommended for anyone age six months and older. Health officials say those most at risk for influenza complications are young children, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, and those with chronic illnesses.
"It's also important to remember that children under six months are too young to receive the vaccination. Caretakers of these infants need to be vaccinated to help prevent the spread of flu to this especially vulnerable age group," said Currier.
MSDH now offers season flu shots at all county clinics. The seasonal flu vaccination is $30, the flu nasal mist is $35, and high-dose flu vaccination for those 65 and older is $55.
Those 18 and under who are eligible for the Vaccines for Children program or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) can receive the vaccination for $10. Insurance is accepted for children's flu shots. The MSDH accepts Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP and the State and School Employees' Health Insurance Plan (AHS) for adults.
There are other precautions experts say reduce the spread of the flu, even if individuals are not vaccinated. Those include, covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing, staying at home when you or your children are sick, and washing your hands frequently and properly.
To locate a county health department clinic in your area or for more information on flu and pneumonia, visit the MSDH website at www.HealthyMS.com/flu.