With high reports of influenza cases, two school systems in Alabama are closing their doors on Friday in an effort to contain the spread of infection. This has come in response to rising flu cases reported across the state as well as infected children within the two school systems.
According to AL.com, Fayetteville City Schools and Albertville City Schools will be closed on Friday. Schools in Albertville will also be closed on Monday, January 28, in response to the flu outbreak.
Albertville officials have stated that 13 percent of the district's almost 5,700 students were reported as absent from school on Thursday, prompting the closures on Friday and Monday.
In addition to children having the day off from school, WHNT News 19 reports that it will give teachers and custodians the opportunity to thoroughly clean and disinfect the school in preparation for the students' return next week.
In addition to these two school systems closing in Alabama, other schools are reminding parents to keep sick children at home, rather than risk infecting others.
"Schools across Madison City are beginning to see increased flu activity," a message sent to parents from Madison City Schools officials said.
"MCS System Nurse Bonnie Davis reminds parents to keep kids home if they exhibit symptoms like fever, headache, body aches, stomach upset etc. Some schools are showing larger spikes than others. We can keep illness to a minimum if we all do our part."These closures have come as reports of "significant" influenza activity has been reported across the U.S. during a season that may not peak yet until February.
While this year's strain of the flu is considered mild compared to the 2017/2018 season, experts are still warning that influenza can be deadly.
"People still don't have the healthy respect for the flu," Dr. Erica Pan, interim health officer of the Alameda County Public Health Department, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "It's a real thing that kills people every year."
To prevent contracting the flu, the CDC advises the following according to AL.com.
- Everyone over the age of 6 months should get their yearly flu vaccine
- Avoid contact with sick people and limit your contact with others if you suspect you are unwell
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing before disposing of tissues correctly
- Use correct hand washing procedures, washing your hands often and with soap and water. If this option isn't available or viable, use hand sanitizer instead
- Avoid contact with your eyes, nose, and mouth as this can lead to germ distribution
- Clean and disinfect any surfaces or objects that you suspect may be contaminated with germs or the influenza virus