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Flu Outbreak is Now an Epidemic

JACKSON, Miss.- The flu outbreak is now so widespread across the USA that it’s officially considered an epidemic by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

There are large numbers of people sick with the flu across 36 states, including Mississippi. It’s too soon to tell just how bad the flu will get though.

The most common strain of flu this season, H3N2, is not a good match for the strains covered by the current vaccine, although the vaccine should still provide some protection.

Antivirals, such as Tamiflu, can significantly reduce the flu’s severity when taken soon after symptoms begin, ideally within the first 24 hours. That is particularly important, for those most at risk for severe cases, including older people, children under five and people with health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma or obesity, or who have weakened immune systems.

More people seem to be getting the message that vaccination helps limit the spread of flu. CVS and Walgreens reported flu vaccinations were up in November of 2014 compared to the same time the previous year.

The vaccine generally takes two weeks to reach full effectiveness.

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