Flu Season Alert

Doctors say the sting of the "stick" from an injection is far less painful than the flu itself. That's why residents are advised to get the flu shot, especially the elderly, chronically ill and small children.

Already in the western U.S., 11 children have died from the flu. With a major outbreak in thirteen states, vaccination supplies are running low in some areas.

That brings us to this question, how about here at home? According to officials in Alabama, with demand so high, flu vaccination supplies could be depleted at healthcare clinics statewide by the end of this week.

Meanwhile, Dr. Robert Hotchkiss with the Mississippi Department of Health says the vaccination supply is not depleted but is somewhat limited throughout the state. Healthcare providers say they are experiencing an increase in demand.

Marcia Brewer is a registered nurse at Anderson Hospital in Meridian.

"We offer the flu shots free of charge to our employees and we've already given over 3 times as many as we gave last year," Brewer said.

Despite popular belief, healthcare officials say you cannot get the flu from the flu shot and that the best way to avoid getting it is by frequently washing your hands and as much as possible avoiding closed in areas where there are a lot of people.

Generally, healthcare officials say it takes about two days after being exposed to the virus to develop symptoms. While colds and fevers are common this time of year, they are advising parents especially to take these symptoms seriously, especially when it comes to children.

Flu season generally peaks in the twin states during January or February.