Low number of flu cases reported in county

Published 2:49 pm Tuesday, January 12, 2016

County health officials are reporting a decrease in flu season this year.

“Usually, we are seeing more cases by now than we have been,” Chilton County Health Department clinic supervisor Ludean Hicks said. “I have definitely been surprised. There have been other sicknesses spreading, which includes people coming down with a sore throat and then it ends with chest congestion, but we haven’t seen or heard anybody recently report that they have gotten sick with the flu.”

Hicks said the health department still has flu vaccines available to anyone interested, and the vaccine does not expire until May 30.

“We have the flu mist, and we have the high dosage vaccine for people who are 65 and older,” Hicks said. “If people want to get a flu shot, all they have to do is call and tell us when they would like to come.”

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses, according to the CDC. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.

The flu is different from a cold in that it usually comes on suddenly.

People who have the flu often feel some or all of the following symptoms:


•Fever or feeling feverish/chills

•Sore throat

•Runny or stuffy nose

•Muscle or body aches


•Fatigue (tiredness)

•Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though it is more common in children than adults.

Hicks said while the county has seen a decrease this year in flu cases, it is still important for individuals to remember to wash their hands to prevent the spread of germs.

“Even if you don’t think you have the flu, but you are sick, it is very important to remember to prevent your sickness from spreading,” Hicks said. “A lot of people will still try to go out in public if they think they might be sick and it spreads it around.”

Hicks said it is also good to teach children to sneeze or cough into their sleeve if they do not have a tissue.

Clanton Elementary School nurse Cindy Blackmon said for the first time in 11 years she has seen an unusually slow year for flu cases.

“We had a few cases when school first started,” Blackmon said. “It was sort of early for the flu to be around at the first of the year, but since those cases we have not seen any.”

Blackmon said typically flu cases are prominent in January and February with many of the cases dropping off in late February and March.

“Usually when we return from spring break we don’t see any flu cases,” Blackmon said. “It is has definitely been a good year for us with really very few cases. This has been the first year in a long time that we haven’t battled the flu.”