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Flu is widespread in Alabama as peak season begins

This year, the vaccine is expected to be more effective than last season because the shot this year covers the strain currently going around.

Posted: Jan 8, 2019 5:48 PM
Updated: Jan 9, 2019 9:14 AM

The Centers for Disease Control show Alabama is having a widespread outbreak of the flu. And it's expected to get worse in the coming weeks.

"It's hitting big now. People are really starting now that school's come back after christmas. A lot more people are being exposed to the germs and they are sharing the love with their family," said Lora Abernathy.

Lora Abernathy is a nurse practitioner at Alabama Care First. While the urgent care was slow today, Abernathy expects things to pick up since we're now in peak flu season. She said new reports show the flu shot is the most effective way to fight the flu.

"They have used the mist this year. It is for kids but different reports are coming out that it is not as effective as the shot. You need the shot."

Abernathy said it's not too late for people to get the flu shot. This year, the vaccine is expected to be more effective than last season because the shot this year covers the strain currently going around.

"We're seeing a lot of H1N1 this year so far and that is one that's covered by the flu vaccine. But the vaccine covers for others too and it will help even if you get the flu it won't be as severe as if you didn't."

Abernathy said it's especially important for kids to get the shot because the flu can be deadly for them. One man told us he and his wife got the shot along with their one-year-old twins.

"The more people that get vaccinated the better off everybody is," said Bill Biesanz.

Doctors say people with chronic illnesses like asthma or diabetes have a harder time fighting the flu if they get it so they really should consider getting a shot if they haven't already done so. 

Waay 31 asked Abernathy about the new drug, Xofluza, and whether or not it has been effective this season. She told us her office hasn't had to prescribe it yet so she doesn't know firsthand, but she has heard that it works well.

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