Influenza activity levels are increasing across the State of Alabama. Several positive influenza specimens in northern Alabama have been identified in the previous three weeks. While the flu season is just getting started in much of the country, activity is already high in Alabama. Flu is a very contagious respiratory illness. Some of the symptoms of influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches and extreme fatigue.
“Increased numbers of providers who report influenza-like illness and send influenza samples for testing to public health suggest an indication of a geographic spread of influenza in Alabama,” said Dr. Karen Landers, District Medical Officer for the Alabama Department of Public Health. “This is concerning because influenza can be a serious disease for anyone, even children, pregnant women and previously healthy young adults.”
An annual influenza vaccination is recommended for everyone age 6 months and older and is the best prevention against getting the flu. Physicians, pharmacists and county health departments can provide flu vaccinations for Alabamians.
In addition to taking the flu vaccine, other measures can reduce or prevent the spread of influenza. These include staying at home when sick, covering the mouth and nose with a tissue/cloth when coughing or sneezing, and washing hands or using hand sanitizer frequently.
“Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. It’s not too late to get a flu shot to protect against this serious disease. People become protected about two weeks after receiving the vaccine,” said Dr. Landers.
Contact your physician, pharmacy or local county health department to receive an influenza vaccination. For more information about the flu visit http://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/immunization/index.html, and to save money on your flu medicine visit AlabamaRxCard.com.