BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Coast pediatricians are seeing flu and other respiratory issues earlier in the year.
"I just thought he had a cold. Just a lingering cold. And we ended up having to get him tested," said Crystal Oliver.
Oliver says it wasn't long after school started in August that her teenage son caught the flu.
"He actually did give it to my 9 year old....The whole family got sick, including myself and my husband," she added.
Dr. JoAnna DuPont at Gulf Coast Children's Clinic in Biloxi isn't surprised. She says she's seen a steady stream of patients with the flu since school started, something she says is unusual.
"It's generally not so quick when school starts, but when we hit the colder months. Now we had a little cold spell just now, although we're getting warmer again. So that maybe why we started so early," said DuPont.
But, the flu isn't the only respiratory issues Dr. DuPont said she's treating. She said she's also seeing cases of hand, foot and mouth disease; which can produce painful sores on the body.
"The flu and the strep and the stomach flu we're seeing in kind of all the ages, but the hand, foot and mouth is mostly in the preschool ages, under five. And fortunately with that one, most kids will develop an immunity," said DuPont.
Symptoms for the illnesses can be in the form of body aches, sore throat, fever, diarrhea and vomiting.
"Many of these things we talked about don't have treatment. The only thing to worry about is dehydration in the littler kids. And in terms of flu there is medicine, but only if you catch it early," said DuPont.
Dr. DuPont advises that children and adults wash hands often, and to visit the doctor at the sign of any symptom.