First flu cases appear in area

Published 12:05 am Friday, November 14, 2014

9 kids diagnosed yesterday

It’s here.

Children with the flu have begun to visit the pediatric clinics in Andalusia.

“We started seeing flu in our office about two weeks ago,” Covington Pediatrics’ Dr. Gabrielle Baldwin said.

There has been an average of six to 10 positive cases of flu in Baldwin’s office each day, and had nine children diagnosed yesterday with the flu.

“We have two schools in the county that we have seen positives from,” she said. “Pleasant Home has a significant amount of the flu right now.”

Covington County Superintendent Shannon Driver said he has heard reports of a few cases within the school system, and said he did hear of two or three possible cases from PHS.

“I am aware that we have some cases in our schools, but there is not a big outbreak right now,” Driver said. “This time of year is when we start to see the flu.”

Driver said they are taking precautions to prevent spread of the flu in the schools, and officials will work with students who are out sick.

“Typically it’s an excused absence, and they can make the work up when they come back,” Driver said. “We will work with them to make the school work up.”

Baldwin said there have also been many cases from schools in surrounding counties, including some from as far away as Monroeville.

“The children have been presenting with symptoms including headache, cough, body aches, sore throat, nasal congestion and fever,” Baldwin said. “If the fever lasts for longer than 24 hours, they probably need to be evaluated. Diagnosis consists of a physical exam as well as a nasal swab for rapid test.”

She said the fever can last anywhere from three to 10 days, and people can be contagious until there has been no fever for 24 hours.

“Parents should keep students out of school until there has been no fever present for 24 hours,” Baldwin said. “They should encourage their children to wash their hands frequently, avoid eating and drinking after other people and as a general rule of thumb, do not touch your face.”

Baldwin also encouraged parents to take their children to receive a flu vaccine.

“We encourage people if they have not received a flu vaccine to receive one,” Baldwin said. “We offer the flu vaccine, as well as many of the other offices.

“Many of the retail pharmacies like RiteAid and CVS provide the flu vaccine and the health department also,” she said. “There are plenty of sources for the flu vaccines, if you want one.”