Flu Season in Full Force - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Flu Season in Full Force

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HATTIESBURG -- The Center for Disease Control reported that, while many states remain at minimal flu activity levels, Mississippi numbers keep rising.

A recent Staples survey reveals that about 90 percent of employees go to work even if they are sick.

Wesley Medical Center Employee Health Officer Lynda Roberts said that's a huge mistake when it comes to the flu. 

"It's spread by droplet," Roberts explained.  "It's spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes or even talks."

She said the virus can travel up to six feet and can even survive on surfaces depending on the environment.

"You have to disinfect the surfaces you come in contact with," Roberts warned.  "One person could come behind you and use the telephone or the keyboard and they can get the flu."

So, the best thing to do is stay home.  She said if you absolutely have to leave, wash your hands often, keep your hands away from your mouth, eyes and nose and avoid contact with other people.

"It's most contagious because a healthy person can start shedding the flu virus one day before they even know they are infected with it," Roberts said.

A patient continues to be contagious five to seven days after initially showing flu indications.

It's important to seek medical treatment when symptoms first appear.  The first sign is usually fatigue.

"It's a feeling of they're just tired and they didn't really do anything to get tired, and then they notice the fever," Roberts said.

In some cases, fever of up to 103 was reported.

Now that it's the beginning of the peak flu season, Roberts suggests getting the flu vaccine as soon as possible.

"The flu vaccine requires your body's immune system to work with the vaccine to form antibodies against the flu," Roberts said.  "It's asking your body to recognize the flu virus if it sees it again ant attack it before it hurts you."

She reminded citizens, don't count out the flu vaccine just because you're afraid of needles.

"There's the flu shot, and the flu mist," Roberts said.  "The flu mist is a live inactivated virus for those people who don't like the needle."

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