Flu Season Off to an Early Start

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Chances are you, or someone you know has already fallen ill with the flu this season. Mississippi, along with numerous other states are already reporting widespread cases of the illness, and that usually doesn't happen until February. This early spike doesn't necessarily forecast a long, severe flu season, and while Dr. Nick Kelly with North Hills Family Medicine recommends that everyone get a flu shot, he attributes the rise in cases to the vaccine being about 70% effective this year.

"I've taken care of people in the hospital, and I know that some of the other Pediatricians in the community have definitely had to admit patients."

While it's not too late to get your flu shot, the vaccine takes 2 weeks to take full effect; 2 weeks that you are not protected from the virus and could come down with the flu. If you do find yourself coming down with a fever, cough, chills, and body aches, doctors say the key to feeling better sooner is timing.

"As time goes on and you're better able to see what their symptoms are, if they more fit the flu than just the common cold, then I say going to their physician would be helpful at that point."

Along with the spike in flu cases, more people are coming down with the stomach virus than health experts had anticipated. The virus causes abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and chills, and while there's no cure for it, there are some things you can do to keep from getting even sicker from dehydration.

"Once those symptoms have started, if you try to do small amounts of liquids, whether it be water, Gatorade, Pedialyte, you want to do small amounts frequently."

For the latest updates on how this flu season is progressing, you can visit the CDC's Flu website at www.flu.gov