To hear that someone is sick does not come as a surprise as a couple different types of influenza are spreading through the community these days. Along with the flu, strep throat and the good old fashioned cold are among viruses that are spreading among not only children but adults also.

With school reconvening on Monday, many of the local schools were asking parents to wash student’s book bags and coats before sending them back to school in an effort to cut down on the spread of the viruses that have been spreading through the schools in recent weeks. Before the Christmas break, Lakeside School reported an estimate of 10-15 students out with the flu. With a larger student body, Eufaula City Schools had a larger number of students out various illnesses including the flu.

“Among the patients that have been seen in emergency room and urgent care facilities the Southeast District, which includes Barbour County, 13.92 percent have been seen for flu like illnesses,” said Kelli Stevens, Infectious Diseases and Outbreak Division Director with the Alabama Department of Public Health. “This does not include those that went to their primary care doctor. We do not have any way to track the number of patients that were seen and treated that way unless it’s reported. We encourage everyone to take what steps they can to safeguard their selves and their families from the viruses that are circulating.”

According to the ADPH website’s Weekly Influenza Report, statewide influenza like illness is at 8.57%, which indicate influenza is actively circulating with one in 11 people visiting their doctor for flu like symptoms. There are six viruses listed on the website that are known to be currently affecting communities throughout the state are Adenovirus, Human Bocavirus, Human Rhinovirus/Enterovirus, Influenza A/H1n1, Influenza B/Victoria, and Parainfluenza 1.

Steps that can be taken to help safeguard yourself and others against the viruses that are circulating include washing your hands frequently with soap and water especially after coughing, sneezing, handling garbage, animals and animal waste, handling dirty dishes, trash and laundry, being in contact with sick people, and touching doorknobs, phones, etc.; frequently clean and disinfect surfaces like door knobs, phones, faucets, and food preparation areas; don’t share linens, utensils or dishes without washing them first; get vaccinated; if possible, stockpile supplies like soap and alcohol based hand sanitizer, fever/pain reducer, cold/flu symptom medications and anti-diarrheal medications, juices, electrolyte drinks and bottled water, toilet tissue, paper towels, boxed tissues, household cleaners, rubber gloves, and non-perishable foods that are easy to prepare such as canned soup, granola bars and crackers; cover your coughs and sneezes; and stay home with a fever — you can return to social and work activities after you have been fever free without taking a fever reducing medication for 24 hours.

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