South Mississippi Schools hit hard by beginning of flu season

South Mississippi Schools hit hard by beginning of flu season

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - The Flu bug is hitting Mississippi hard this season.

The Magnolia state is one of three listed as having high level of activity from influenza-like illnesses by the Centers for Disease Control.

Pharmacist Larry Krohn says he's seen a spike in flu cases.

"We're starting to see a big increase in the drug Tamiflu which is what they use to treat the flu with," said Krohn. "Some of the reports we've read, Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia are supposed to be some of the top flu cases in the country right now. But yeah, we're seeing a lot of Tamiflu being written by local pediatricians."

Many schools in South Mississippi are having higher than usual absences, specifically due to the flu.

At Jeff Davis Elementary in Biloxi, the numbers are rising as well according to nurse Becca Horton.

"This week in particular I have seen an increase in students with flu and fever-like symptoms," said Horton.

LaToya Cobb is a teacher at Jeff Davis, but also, a parent of a student. She says she does have a fear of the bug spreading around the school.

"It could become an epidemic and take over the school," Cobb said. "We talk about washing with soap and water. We talk about hand sanitizer. We talk about coughing and sneezing into your elbow, as well as getting Kleenex."

Luckily, there isn't concern of a Tamiflu shortage this year according to Krohn.

"We have not heard that there's a shortage," he said. "It's gone generic so there's some other companies making it so at this point we have not seen a shortage like we have, there's been some years past when we have seen a shortage."

Even if you are medicating your child, or yourself, Horton says once you have the fl, be sure to give it time to pass.

"When we send students home, we try to encourage parents to keep them out for 24 hours fever free, not to send them back," said Horton. "Because if they just give them Tylenol or medication at home, they still could be contagious."

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