OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - While the holiday cheer is spreading, so is the flu.
Mississippi is among the top four states that have been hit, health care providers are not ready to hit the panic button.
It's been a busy few weeks for the Singing River Medical Clinic in Ocean Springs.
"Our walk-in clinic has been very busy, seeing above 30 on some days," said administrator Dale Gannon. "We have four other providers with a good mix of cold and flu."
The flu outbreak seems to be moving west.
"I know that flu has been more in the Pascagoula, Hurley area. Now, this week, it's finally started toward Ocean Springs and we're seeing more of it," said Gannon.
The Centers for Disease Control show Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas with high levels of flu activity.
Some of those cases are with patients who had the flu vaccination.
Although there is some debate about the flu vaccination's effectiveness this year, Dr. Steven Demetropoulos said it's still necessary.
"Look, the only chance you have of not getting the flu, is getting the vaccine," he said.
He agreed the clinic has been busy, but not all patients have the flu.
"Yeah, there is a lot out there, but there's also a lot of other viruses, respiratory infections that are not the flu," Demetropoulos said. "Look, we've tested a bunch of people this morning and yesterday and probably a fourth of them have flu, but then we've also seen another large percent that doesn't have it."
Demetropoulos also believes that the cases will slow down now that all schools are out.
Unfortunately there are still problems, especially in crowded stores for Christmas shopping.
"That's why I love the hand sanitizer bottles all over that we see in grocery stores and any type of stores in particular," he said. "Use those frequently. Wash your hands frequently. Those are almost 100 percent effective."
Demetropoulos also says post-influenza pneumonia is also a concern.
If you have been diagnosed with the flu and develop chest pain or shortness of breath, see your doctor immediately or, if necessary, go to the emergency room.