BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Across America, there have been severe respiratory illnesses among young to middle aged adults who are diagnosed with the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most of those cases occurred in people who were not vaccinated.
Experts have identified the virus in circulation as the 2009 H1N1 strain. That same strain caused illness and deaths here in Mississippi during the 2013-2014 season.
"The good news is that this year's flu vaccine has proven to be a good match and includes protection against the H1N1 strain," said Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs. "With the increased activity in other parts of the country, it's important to get your flu shot if you haven't done so already, especially if you are traveling."
Recent reports show an increase in deaths from flu and pneumonia in January, at approximately seven percent of all deaths last month.
Health officials recommend getting vaccinated to help combat the virus. Seasonal flu vaccination is recommended for anyone age six months and older. For adults, there are a variety of vaccinations available at county health departments this year.
The seasonal flu vaccination costs $30, flu nasal mist costs $35, and high-dose flu vaccination for those 65 and older is $55.
Remember, hours of operation at county clinics changed for some locations. Check here to see when the clinic near you is open.
While vaccination is the best protection, basic infection control measures can also reduce the spread of flu and should be taken whether or not individuals are vaccinated. These measures include covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing, staying at home when you or your children are sick, and washing your hands frequently.