Flu season is already here and it may pack a punch. Alabama is one of the states getting hit hard by the flu early this year. Our neighboring states are also seeing early flu cases.
"It can give us some idea that we may be getting ready to have a prolonged season or worse season," said Dr. Mary McIntyre, Assistant State Health Officer and acting State Epidemiologist.
Dr. McIntyre said vaccination is key to keep the outbreak under control.
"We have a lot of people say I should have gotten it earlier, but there is still time, and that can hopefully cut down on what we would see if people don't do that."
Alabama typically has lower rates of vaccination for influenza especially among young people.
"For some of our populations, it's less than 20 percent," Dr. McIntyre said. "And we wonder we're seeing incidences and people with the flu, well you know people are not getting vaccinated."
And unlike past years, the strains that are prevalent this year match the vaccine. While some states are seeing the swine flu, Alabama is not.
Other ways to protect yourself and prevent spreading illness is to cover your cough, wash your hands frequently, and stay home when you're sick.
For more resources on Influenza, and the state's efforts to fight it, click here.
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