"Deaths from flu - as surprising and as shocking as they are - they're not rare cases," State Health Officer Dr. Ed Thompson said. "The younger the child, the greater the risk."
In a press release Dr. Ed Thompson said the deaths were reported in Madison and DeSoto counties. The state Department of Health would not release the names or ages of those who died.
Mississippi usually sees several hundred deaths a year from pneumonia and the flu, but most of those deaths are among those older than 65, Thompson said.
Last year, no youths died from the flu in the Magnolia State.
Thompson says this time of the year is the “peak season” for the flu. He says health care officials are now seeing increase in cases of the virus statewide.
He urged Mississippians to get flu shots, especially those at high risk: "If you didn't get a flu shot, you need to get one now if you want to reduce your chances of avoiding flu."
Those at high risk include young children, adults older than 65 and those suffering from chronic illnesses as well as their health-care providers, he said.
According to the latest survey by the CDC, 94 percent of the children who died of the flu over the past year had not been vaccinated.
Symptoms of flu can start quite suddenly one to two days after infection. Usually the first symptoms are chills or a chilly sensation but fever is also common early in the infection, with body temperatures as high as 39 °C (approximately 103 °F). Many people are so ill that they are confined to bed for several days, with aches and pains throughout their bodies, which are worst in their backs and legs.
Common symptoms of the flu such as fever, headaches, and fatigue come from the huge amounts of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines produced from influenza-infected cells. In contrast to the rhinovirus that causes the common cold, influenza does cause tissue damage, so symptoms are not entirely due to the inflammatory response.
Symptoms of influenza may include: body aches, especially joints and throat, coughing and sneezing, extreme coldness and fever, fatique, headache, irritated watering eyes, nasal conqestion, nausea and vomiting, reddened eyes, skin (especially face), mouth, throat and nose.
It can be difficult to distinguish between the common cold and influenza in the early stages of these infections, but usually the symptoms of the flu are more severe than their common-cold equivalents.