Recent editorials from Mississippi newspapers:
Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal on taking preventative measures against flu season:
People anticipate October for a number of reasons.
The start of flu season doesn't tend to be on the top of that list.
However, since October also signifies winter's approach, it means flu season is just around the corner. And since it takes flu shots a couple of weeks to fully kick in, October is also the month for people to start thinking about being vaccinated.
Although people can be affected by the flu at any time during the year, the virus tends to be most common in the winter. In Mississippi, flu season is typically most intense between December and February, Mississippi State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers told the Daily Journal's Michaela Morris.
This year's season comes on the heels of a particularly deadly one. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control reported an estimated 80,000 people died due to influenza and related complications during 2017-18. In an average year, the CDC estimates about 36,000 people die from the flu and complications.
Children were particularly hard hit by the disease, which claimed 181 U.S. children last year, including three in Mississippi. Nationally, 80 percent of those who died were not vaccinated.
Part of the reason for the intensity of last year's season is that the vaccine was not fully effective. The H3N2 strain was one of the most common last year, and H3 strains of the virus are typically more difficult to vaccinate against. Byers said H3 strains historically have been associated with difficult flu seasons.
It's too early to know how severe this year's season will be. But it's important to get vaccinated now, regardless.
Some people may be tempted to skip the shot, especially after hearing anecdotes of people who got vaccinated last year and still ended up getting infected. Medical experts say, however, that in cases when the shot doesn't prevent infection, it does reduce the severity of the sickness.
According to mayoclinic.org, "Even when the vaccine doesn't completely prevent the flu, it may lessen the severity of your illness and the risk of serious complications."
The website also recommends additional steps to protect oneself from the flu and other viruses. Those include:
Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water
Use an alcohol-based sanitizer on your hands if soap and water aren't available
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth whenever possible
Avoid crowds when the flu is most prevalent in your area
Practice good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly, drink plenty of fluids, eat a nutritious diet and manage your stress
Like it or not, flu season will be here soon. Roll up your sleeve, get your shot and take other preventative measures to stay safe.
The Daily Leader on a halftime performance:
It is hard to understand what the band director at Forest Hill High School was thinking (maybe he wasn't thinking) when he sent students onto King Field for a halftime performance that at best was grossly inappropriate and disturbing.
Just days after Brookhaven mourned the deaths of two police officers, students with fake guns were pointing them at actors on the field. It was the worst possible time for a halftime performance that would be inappropriate at any high school at any time. It is never OK to bring fake guns onto a school campus.
The condemnation was swift. Apologies were quickly issued. ...
The entire debacle — including the viciousness of some on social media in response — threatens to pull Brookhaven apart at a time when it needs unity. The vile, disgusting, racist words directed at Forest Hill students on social media will not help this city heal. They are gasoline on an already growing fire.
The students are not to blame here, the adults are. Those responsible for the halftime show should face appropriate discipline.
Yes, there should be anger. There should be outrage. There should be condemnation. There should be consequences.
But there should not be hate. There should not be racial slurs. There should not be threats of violence.
"The back and forth, it's not going to solve anything," the Rev. Phillip Sterling of Grace Community Church said. "We're only self-imploding. No one is going to win. It takes all of us getting along together."
Brookhaven has shown remarkable amounts of grace and love in the face of what feels like an unrelenting attack. Don't turn from that now. Don't embrace the hate and anger that comes so easily on social media.
Those who do invite division, not unity. Brookhaven is stronger when it works together, and the city needs all the strength it can muster right now.
Greenwood Commonwealth on a group of state officials wanting Mississippi to get tougher on electronic cigarettes:
A group of state officials wants Mississippi to get tougher on electronic cigarettes than even the real thing in an effort to keep the highly addictive product out of the hands of teenagers.
State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier, Attorney General Jim Hood and others are forming a coalition to ask the Legislature to further restrict the sale of e-cigarettes before their use reaches epidemic proportions.
They recommend raising the minimum purchase age to 21. It's now 18, as it is with tobacco products.
They also want e-cigarettes to face heavier taxation, and to prevent retailers from creating "homebrew" concoctions without a license to do so.
The problem with e-cigarettes is that still so little is known about their long-term health effects. Developed as supposedly a healthier alternative to tobacco for smokers, they have also become the gateway to nicotine addiction for many.
Discouraging kids from using nicotine — no matter how it's delivered — is a good idea. What we need more of, though, is research into how big of a health risk e-cigarettes pose not only for teens but for anyone.