The 2019-2020 flu season in Alabama began in October. East Central, West Central, and Southeastern Alabama all have had what the CDC reports as significant activity. According to the CDC, those findings are based on reported influenza-like illness data, or reported influenza outbreaks, as well as positive influenza specimens from the previous three weeks. The A(H3N2) and B/Victoria viruses have been most common strains nationally, but A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses have also been in circulation. Predominance varies by region and other strains could surface.
The flu is serious business and can be deadly. The 1918 U.S. Influence Pandemic, an Avian flu (H1N1), killed more than 195,000 people in just one month. It lasted 15 months, infected 500 million people globally, and ended the lives of 3-5 percent of the world’s population. In 1957, H2N2 triggered another pandemic; in 1968, H3N2 caused another pandemic, and in 2009 H1N1, a distant relation to the 1918 virus, caused yet another pandemic. It’s only a matter of time before another pandemic happens. For the 2018-2019 flu season, there were between 531,000 to 647,000 hospitalizations and between 36,400 to 61,200 flu-related deaths globally.
The CDC is urging all citizens to get vaccinated as soon as possible, especially since flu is already reported in our area. It’s not too late. The quadrivalent vaccine protects against four strains and is the only vaccine to protect against the Influenza B/Yamagata strain. All strains in our region are covered under the vaccine.
How Flu Spreads
Droplets sprayed from infected person’s cough, sneeze, or when talking enter the eye(s) or nose.
Touching a surface or object contaminated with the flu virus, then touching mouth, eyes, or nose.
A person is contagious one day before systems start and up to five to seven days after symptoms appear—some can be infectious for a longer period of time.
Fever or feeling feverish/chills
Runny or stuffy nose
Muscle or body aches
Vomiting and diarrhea
Get a yearly flu vaccine
Wash hands properly and often
Cover your cough and sneeze with arm
Clean and sterilize surfaces
Stay home if you are sick