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Flu and allergy season collide in Huntsville

While local clinics are seeing a drop in Flu cases, pollen counts are on the rise.

Posted: Mar 23, 2019 9:21 PM
Updated: Mar 10, 2020 3:39 PM

This year some local clinics are seeing people come in earlier with allergy issues than last year. That's partly because this year fewer people have gotten the flu, which means those allergy symptoms aren't covered up by more serious flu symptoms.

"Even if I'm on medicine someone in my family always gets sick with it and it really sucks," Katie Newcomb said.

This year Katie Newcomb was the first in her family to catch the flu, but says pretty soon her mom and brother were reaching for the tissues.

"Coughing a lot it was awful," said Newcomb.

North Alabama continues to lead the pack with the highest amount of flu outbreaks and in Alabama Public Health's most recent numbers the death toll has risen to 64. There's some good news. The flu is starting to settle, with less reported cases this time around. Nurse practitioner Cynthia Whitten is seeing that in her own clinic here in Huntsville.

"Now we're beginning to see the sinus infections and the upper respiratory infections," said Cynthia Whitten.

This year, Whitten is seeing more people head to the clinic earlier in the season with allergy symptoms partially because the flu hasn't hit Huntsville as hard as it did last year.

"We saw a lot more flu a lot later in the year so that we didn't see the allergies because people were just sick with the Tlu," said Whitten.

This year, as pollen counts are on the rise, allergies may be less overshadowed by the flu as it tapers off.

We aren't completely out of the woods when it comes to flu season, nurse practitioner Whitten recommends getting your flu shot, washing your hands, and if you have to go to a clinic sick wear a mask. Worried you might have the flu click HERE for more information.

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