One Mississippi child has died of flu so far in the 2023 to 2024 season, the Mississippi State Department of Health announced in a Nov. 15 press release.
A pediatric death is the death of a child under the age of 18. Since the 2008 to 2009 flu season, MSDH has reported 25 pediatric flu deaths.
Between May 2020 and December 2021, no children in the state died of the flu as COVID-19-era social distancing and masking guidelines seriously limited the spread of the influenza virus. Nine children died of COVID-19 during the same period.
Getting a flu vaccine, washing hands frequently and staying home when sick can help prevent the spread of the flu.
“Vaccination is the best protection against flu and the severe outcomes from flu infection,” Interim State Epidemiologist Dr. Kathryn Taylor said in the press release. “All individuals six months of age and older are recommended to get an updated flu and COVID-19 vaccine this season.”
MSDH officials recommend getting flu and COVID-19 vaccines to prevent illness. It is safe to get a flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time; anyone older than six months of age can get both vaccines.
“I encourage everybody to get vaccinated and prepared for the wintertime,” State Health Officer Dr. Daniel Edney told the Mississippi Free Press on Oct. 4.
MSDH has more information about preventing the flu and where to get a flu shot on its website.