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Flu & Covid season

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During the fall and winter months, Mississippians need to prepare for respiratory viruses like influenza, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and COVID-19, which tend to increase as more people gather indoors, the State Department of Health (MSDH) warns. Being aware of the risks and taking appropriate precautions will curb infections and severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death, health officials say. Simple steps that can be taken to prevent disease: stay home when you are ill, cover your coughs, and wash hands or use hand sanitizer often.

This year, there are newly approved options for RSV prevention for certain at-risk individuals -- people aged 60 and older, pregnant individuals and infants or children 19 months and younger. MSDH recommends all individuals aged six months and older get an updated influenza and COVID-19 vaccination. These vaccinations are widely available at many pharmacies and healthcare provider offices. Children 18 years old and younger, as well as uninsured or underinsured adults, can receive influenza vaccinations at MSDH county health departments.

"Early diagnosis and treatment can limit poor outcomes with influenza and COVID-19," said MSDH Interim State Epidemiologist Dr. Kathryn Taylor. "Vaccination against respiratory viruses like COVID-19, influenza, and RSV remains the best protection against hospitalization and severe outcomes related to infection."

For more information on county health department locations and services, visit


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