#8216;Tis the season

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 9, 2006

Thirteen cases of early-season influenza have been confirmed in the state of Alabama already this year, including 11 cases in Ozark, one case in Mobile County and one case in Dothan.

Chris Seller, senior epidemiologist with the Alabama Department of Public Health, said this year has been an unusual year in that cases of flu are already being seen. The average flu season runs from October through March.

&#8220We're not really seeing high numbers, we're just seeing early numbers, about six months ahead of last year, which was a late flu season,” Sellers said.

While last year's flu season fell late and this year's has fallen early, Sellers said such a pattern is not too uncommon.

&#8220It just happens like that,” Sellers said. &#8220It's just like the weather.”

During last year's flu season, the state suffered an immunization shortage, but Sellers said that is not the problem this year.

&#8220The shortage (last year) was due to production,” Sellers said. &#8220That is not a current problem.”

Some tips Sellers offered to help prevent getting the flu or prevent spreading it including covering your mouth when you cough and staying at home when you first feel symptoms like achiness, sore throat or a fever.

&#8220You don't want to expose the flu to children or the elderly because those people get it much easier,” Sellers said. &#8220Basically, just keep your social distance.”

Sellers and the Center for Disease Control recommend that young children, the elderly and those people with low immune systems who are susceptible to catching the flu all get flu immunizations this year.

For more information about immunizations in the County, please contact the Butler County Health Department at 334-382-3154.