It’s still not too late to get a flu shot

Gerard Edic, Staff Writer, Greenwood Commonwealth

The best way to prevent the flu is with a flu shot, and it’s not too late to get vaccinated, says a safety officer and infection prevention nurse at Greenwood Leflore Hospital.

There were three cases of the flu last month from patients who checked in at the hospital’s emergency room, according to Sandy Fink. Ten cases were reported in September and October.

If enough people are vacci­nated, the resistance to the spread of the flu is much stronger, explained Fink. This concept is known as herd immunity.

It takes two weeks for the vaccine to take effect.

Flu vaccinations are offered at the hospital’s primary and children’s care clinics, as well as at many pharmacies.

Flu symptoms include a stuffy nose, fever, headache and sore throat.

Though the flu is active all year, it peaks during the fall and winter months, particu­larly between December and February, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last year, there were 228 cases in Greenwood, includ­ing 127 in December, accord­ing to Patricia Griffin, a labo­ratory clinical analyst for the hospital.

The Mississippi Depart­ment of Health confirmed the state’s first pediatric flu death of the 2018-2019 flu season on Wednesday. The patient was from South Mississippi and had underlying health conditions.

“We know that last year there were 183 influenza deaths in children, three of which were in Mississippi,” Dr. Thomas Dobbs, interim state health officer, said in a statement. “Nationally, about 80 percent of the pediatric deaths were in children who were not vaccinated against the flu.”

Though individual flu cases have been diagnosed and treated by health-care providers across the state, they are not required to report their numbers.