JACKSON METRO AREA, MS (Mississippi News Now) - The CDC says there have been twice as many cases of the flu this year when compared to 2016. They're estimating this year's flu shot is only working about 10% of the time.
"Every year the CDC produces a new flu vaccine that's a reflection of the most common strains from the previous year," said Dr. Timothy Quinn, a physician with a family practice in Ridgeland.
Results vary each year, and health experts say 2017's vaccine has been pretty ineffective. During the week of December 10 through 16, the U.S. saw a huge spike in flu cases.
That's before the holiday season, when most walk-in clinics would have altered or limited hours.
"The flu is very contagious," said Dr. Quinn. "If someone has the flu in your household, it's a good idea to go ahead and see your doctor to get what's called the prophylactic treatment, where we'll prescribe the Tamiflu, where you'll take it every day, and it keeps you from getting the flu if you've been exposed to someone with the flu."
Most urgent care centers were closed on Christmas Day and you can expect the same for New Year's Day.
That's a big problem because Tamiflu, which treats the virus, is most effective when you get it right away - which you can't do if you have nowhere to get it.
"If we wait and don't start it till three or four days later, it doesn't work very well.... It's a good idea to just go to your local Emergency Room. They're equipped to go ahead and do that flu test, and if you need it, start you on that treatment right away," said Dr. Quinn.
All that being said, Dr. Quinn warns that it is still best to get the flu shot.
He says some protection is better than no protection.
So how do you know if you have the flu or just a cold?
Flu symptoms are more severe, and in addition to common cold symptoms will include:
- muscle soreness
The best way to know is to check your temperature because with the flu, you'll probably have a temperature above 101 degrees, which is not really common with the cold.
Practice safe hygiene by washing your hands frequently with soap and water, carry around a hand sanitizer and if you have to sneeze, sneeze into your elbow.
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