Flu season is hitting the nation hard, but there may be a glimmer of hope when it comes to Mississippi.
The CDC reports that the Magnolia State is one of three states now without widespread flu. But don't get too comfortable. Many local clinics and hospitals are still swamped with flu patients.
Dr. Timothy Quinn of Quinn Healthcare in Ridgeland said he's seeing patients coming in left and right with flu-like symptoms.
"So many people are coming in with runny nose, sore throat," Quinn said.
Even if you think you have the simplest of symptoms, timing is everything when it comes to treatment. Quinn said that's because the medication for the flu is effective if it's started within the first 48 to 72 hours.
Quinn said you can't get the flu from getting the shot. Any symptoms you may have is simply your body building its immunity. However, keep in mind it takes two weeks for the vaccination to become effective.
"You can get the flu during that two week period, but you know there's really nothing you can do about that other than try to limit your exposure as much as possible," Quinn said.
The University of Mississippi Medical Center's children's emergency room typically sees about 3,000 patients per month, that includes flu and other illnesses. However, in December that number went up to more than 4,000 patients.
"We were well over 4,000 patients in December and we were seeing a lot of those respiratory and fever type symptoms," said Skye Stoker, UMC's Nurse Manager in the Children's E.R. Department.
There is some good news. UMMC has seen a drop in patients in January. It's the same for St. Dominic's where the number of flu cases is also on the decline. But, it's a bit different at Baptist Hospital where they're swamped. They've reported 231 flu cases since November.
It's not too late to get the flu vaccination, but if you do catch the bug, registered dietician Rebecca Turner says eat flu-fighting foods.
"If you can stomach mushrooms those are high in selenium which boosts those white blood cells that help fight the invaders of infection," Turner said.
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