Combating the Cold & Flu Season in Alabama

Cold and flu season has hit hard in many portions of the U.S. – including the southeast.

Across the state line in Georgia CDC officials are saying the flu is at the highest level that the state measures, adding that the flu is now widespread with cases skyrocketing over the last few days.

Alabama is in better shape, at least for the time being, although the state is seeing what has been termed a “high level of influenza-like illnesses”

Jim McVay with the Alabama Department of Public Health said his department is starting to see more flu and the standard pattern is, you usually begin seeing cases in November and it peaks in January and February; he cautions residents that the year’s flu season may be a bit stronger than usual.

On Thursday we spoke with Cherokee County School Superintendent Mitchell Guice and he informed us that system wide they’re seeing absences only slightly above normal, which is especially good considering the time of year.

Remember – taking simple precautions can certainly go a long way toward staying healthy during flu season:

Flu is a serious contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. 

The Center for Disease Control urges you to take the following actions to protect yourself and others from influenza (the flu): 

Cold and Flu 2Take time to get a flu vaccine.

  • The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the very first, and most important, step in protecting against flu viruses.
  • While there are many different flu viruses, a flu vaccine protects against the three or four viruses that research suggests will be most common.
  • Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.
  • Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine as soon as the current season’s vaccines are available.
  • Vaccination of high risk persons is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
  • People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older.
  • Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu to high risk people.
  • Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for them should be vaccinated instead.

Cold and Flu 1Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.

  • Try to avoid close contact with people who are already sick.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

  • If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can treat your illness.
  • Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.
  • Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications. Treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.
  • Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick, but starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high-risk health or is very sick from the flu. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking this drug.
  • Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.


(The Center for Disease Control/

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