I’ll have a ‘flu’ Christmas? Illnesses rise in Alabama

I’ll have a ‘flu’ Christmas? Illnesses rise in Alabama
Did you get a flu shot for 2018? (Source: WAFB)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Santa won’t be the only thing paying a visit to many Alabama homes this Christmas season. If trends continue, a lot of residents will have a ‘flu Christmas.'

According to data from the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Influenza Surveillance Map, north and west central Alabama are already feeling the effects. The eastern and southern parts of the state, however, have not shown significant reporting of the illness as of the latest update through Dec 8.

That’s not to say there aren’t cases of the flu in those areas. A new data report should be out soon showing results through Dec. 15.

For the last seven weeks, ADPH has found that flu cases have been sporadic around the state. That changed for the first time this season in the latest report when the northern part of the state began to report significant flu activity.

ADPH has yet to report any regional or widespread outbreaks as of the latest report.

The flu season typically peaks between December and February. Historical data shows Alabama was moving into a widespread flu season around this same time in 2017. It lasted 11 weeks and prompted Gov. Kay Ivey to declare a public health emergency.

ADPH urges an annual vaccination of those six months of age and older. ADPH says through late October, the CDC has received more than 180 reports of pediatric deaths with 80 percent happening to children who did not get a flu vaccine for the season.

Tips to avoid the flu:

  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands.
  • 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 flu.

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