Flu cases rise in Alabama

Published 4:25 pm Monday, December 10, 2012

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified Alabama as one of the five states nationwide with higher than normal cases of the flu.

“It looks like it is shaping up to be a bad flu season, but only time will tell,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a release.

According to the release, higher-than-normal reports of the flu have come in from Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas.

Although it is unclear why the flu is showing up earlier than usual with cases typically reported after the Christmas holiday, Chilton County Health Department clinic supervisor Ludean Hicks said so far everything in Chilton County is OK.

“We have not received a lot of reports of people getting sick with the flu,” Hicks said. “We have seen a lot of turnout for the flu vaccination but we haven’t heard of many people getting the flu so far.”

Hicks said the Chilton County Health Department still has some flu vaccinations left for anyone interested in preventing the flu.

“We give the flu shots on Wednesday and Friday every week,” Hicks said. “We recommend people make an appointment before coming but I know a lot of the doctor’s offices in Chilton County have run out of the vaccine so they are sending them to us.”

Hicks said tips for avoiding the flu are washing hands, trying not to be around people with illnesses, covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing, teaching children to sneeze or cough into their sleeve if they do not have a tissue and getting a flu vaccine.

“I think it is very important for children and elderly individuals to use these tips because those particular age groups are more susceptible to catching the flu,” Hicks said.

Clanton Elementary school nurse Cindy Blackmon said she has not seen a lot of documented cases of the flu.

“We have had children out sick but whether or not they were actually diagnosed with the flu I don’t know,” Blackmon said. “We have had a lot of viruses, pink eye and strep throat keeping kids out of school so we don’t have a lot of documented cases for the flu.”

The CDC estimates 112 million Americans have been vaccinated for the flu so far with flu vaccinations recommended for everyone who is 6 months of age or older.

For more information on flu vaccines, call the health department at 755-1287.