MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Health officials have confirmed Mississippi's third pediatric influenza death for the 2017-2018 season.
The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports that a child from central Mississippi died from flu-related health complications.
As of March 10, 2018, there were 128 pediatric flu deaths in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
Peak flu season in Mississippi typically lasts from January to March. State Epidemiologist Dr. Byers said while influenza activity has decreased over the past few weeks, new flu cases still arise.
"This has been an extremely active flu season, and we know that, unfortunately, flu can lead to serious complications and sometimes death, even for healthy children and young adults," he said.
MSDH recommends flu shots for all those older than six months of age. Officials report the H3N2 flu strain is the main culprit behind the illness nationwide. It is said to especially affect people over 65 years old and young children, increasing their risk of complications and hospitalization.
Other ways to prevent the flu include staying home when sick or keeping kids home from school when they are sick, covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and washing your hands.
MSDH uses information sourced from healthcare providers to determine the presence and spread of the flu throughout the state.