Mississippi State Department of Health

Influenza (Flu)


Flu is a seasonal threat that can result in extended illness or hospitalization. Vaccination each flu season is the best way to protect adults and children from seasonal flu and its complications.

Seasonal flu shots are recommended by the CDC each year for everyone six months of age and older. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses and prevent flu-related hospitalizations and death. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for full protection against the flu to take effect. Get your flu vaccination by the end of October for best protection.

Where to find a flu shot

Check with your health care provider about this season's flu shot. County health departments provide flu shots to all children, and to qualifying adults who lack insurance coverage. Flu shots are also widely available at pharmacies and retail centers.



MSDH accepts private insurance, Medicaid, CHIP, and Vaccines for Children (VFC) coverage. Cost under the VFC program is $10.

Who we vaccinate for flu

MSDH county clinics offer pediatric flu vaccinations for children up to age 18. Certain high-risk adults who lack health insurance coverage or who are underinsured can also receive their flu shots at county health departments.

Who should get a flu shot

Yearly flu shots are recommended by the CDC for everyone six months of age and older. Those particularly at risk for influenza complications include young children, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, and those with a chronic illness. Parents and caregivers of those who are at risk for flu should also receive a flu vaccination.

Who should not get a flu shot

A flu shot is not recommended if you:

Take 3: A three-part strategy to fight flu

1. Take time to get a flu vaccination each year

2. Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs

3. Take antivirals to treat your flu if your doctor prescribes them

Preventing Flu in Schools

Guidance from MSDH and the CDC on preventing flu transmission in schools.

Protective Hygiene

Clean your hands

Clean hands prevent the spread of flu virus. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly to stay healthy.

One of the most common ways to catch the flu is by touching the eyes or nose with contaminated hands. Handwashing prevents the spread of other communicable diseases as well: hepatitis A, meningitis, and infectious diarrhea among others.

Effective handwashing:

It's In Your Hands

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

The flu virus easily enters the body when you touch a contaminated surface and transfer the virus to the eyes, nose, or mouth.

Stay home when you are sick

You are more likely to catch the flu if you are already sick with a cold or other illness. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick to keep yourself and others well.

If you are sick, continue to follow the handwashing guidelines above.

Cover your mouth and nose

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing to prevent the spread of any illness to others.

Wash your hands after using a tissue.


Avoid close contact

Flu spreads easily: avoid close contact with those who are ill. If you are sick, avoid contact with others to keep them well.

How can I tell a cold from the flu?

The flu's symptoms come on suddenly and can include a high fever and severe aches and pains. A cold, however, rarely causes a fever or severe aches and pains.

Symptoms Cold Flu
Fever Usually none High fever (102 - 104° F); lasts 3 to 4 days
Headache Usually none Headaches can be strong
General aches, pains Very little Often severe aches and pains
Fatigue, weakness Mild Fatigue for up to 3 weeks
Extreme exhaustion Never Exhaustion begins early and remains
Stuffy nose Nose usually stuffy Sometimes
Sneezing Sneezing is common Sometimes
Sore throat Throat is usually sore Sometimes
Chest discomfort, cough Sometimes Chest discomfort and coughing can be severe
Complications Sinus congestion or earache Bronchitis, pneumonia; can be life-threatening
Prevention None Annual vaccination or antiviral medicines; see your doctor
Treatment Only temporary relief of symptoms Antiviral medicines: see your doctor

Links referenced on this page
recommended by the CDC    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/
Mississippi Flu Surveillance    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/14,0,199,230,html ok
Healthcare Guidance    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/14,20981,199,822,html ok
Flu Information from the CDC    http://www.cdc.gov/flu/
County health departments    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/19,0,166,html ok
Find a flu shot provider near you    https://vaccinefinder.org/
Find a county health department    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/19,0,166,html ok
Find an MSDH county health clinic    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/19,0,166,html ok
Find other flu shot providers    https://vaccinefinder.org/
MSDH county clinics    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/19,0,166,html ok
recommended by the CDC    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/prevention.htm
Flu prevention for caregivers of infants and young children    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/infantcare.htm
More about diabetes and flu    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/diabetes.htm
More on Flu and Pregnancy: CDC    https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/pregnant.htm
Key Points to Prevent the Spread of Flu in Schools    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/14,0,199,818,html ok
Handwashing basics for kids and materials for teachers    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/14,6459,330,html ok

Find this page at http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/index.cfm

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