Flu Season is Almost Here

Flu season for East Mississippi and West Alabama generally starts in December and lasts through March.

Dr. Rebecca James, health officer with the Mississippi State Department of Health, tells us, "For that reason, it's important for people to go ahead and get their flu shots now because it takes about two weeks for the flu shot to build your immunity, so you want to get it in your system before you're in contact with the flu."

James says there have already been reported cases of the flu in Mississippi. While the flu shot cannot give you the flu, it is not complete protection from it nor can it stop you from getting the flu if you already have the virus.

"People who get flu or flu symptoms after the shot were either exposed to it before and just finally broke down and got it; they got their shot a little too late, or they got a strain of the flu that's not in the flu vaccine," says James.

With all the sinus problems people have been having this fall, James says there is not a connection between the sinus season and flu season.

"Sinus infections and that sort of thing do not link into the flu, but there are some, especially chronic diseases - asthma, diabetes, chronic pulmonary diseases, heart disease - some of those folks, kidney failure, renal disease, those folks immune systems are knocked down so much so when they get the flu, it can effect them more severely," explains James.

Besides getting the flu shot, covering your cough by coughing into your elbow and washing your hands frequently can help keep you healthy this flu season.