Flu appearing here

Published 9:55 am Monday, February 13, 2006

By By LYDIA GRIMES – Features writer
Officials with the Alabama Department of Public Health announced this week that influenza activity has been detected in several parts of the state, but Escambia County was not included among the counties listed. However, area doctors are beginning to report some cases of the highly contagious disease.
Michael Likos, epidemiologist with the health department's division of epidemiology, said, &#8220It is difficult to precisely monitor where influenza is occurring throughout the entire state, and so this highly contagious disease might be found in other counties.”
To assess the prevalence of influenza in Alabama, 31 medical providers report the number of their patients seen with influenza-like illnesses, 176 schools throughout the state report student absences onWednesdays, 12 larger hospitals report results of testing for influenza, and the state public health laboratory performs influenza cultures.
Robinson said that school is a good place to pick up any of these problems and preventative measures should be taken.
Dr. Jonathan Southworth, who also works at Brewton Medical Center, says much the same about the patients he is seeing.
Influenza has been detected later than usual in the state.
According to ADPH, Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus.  It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.  Most healthy people recover from influenza without complications; however, some people such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions are at risk for complications from influenza. 
Symptoms of influenza include fever, headache, tiredness, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, and in children, diarrhea and vomiting can occur.
The common cold can have similar symptoms, but a cold does not usually cause a high fever, headache, aches and pains or fatigue and weakness. Influenza spreads in respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing.  It usually spreads from person to person, although it can be spread from contact with a surface, which has virus on it.
ADPH offers several habits for good health.

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