Flu outbreak spreads through north Alabama, even for those who got flu shots

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - The flu is spreading through Alabama with a vengeance. According to the CDC, the state has one of the highest levels of flu activity in the country right now, with most of it in North Alabama.

American Family Care Center Dr. Stephanie Gafford said though this flu outbreak might seem sudden, it's not surprising.

"We've all been home for the holidays, and so we've been sharing our germs with one another over family dinners and by going out more than we normally would so we're in public places."

She said one common factor that stands out is that in Madison and Limestone Counties they are seeing a surge of flu patients who got their flu shot this year.

" I do believe that we're seeing some cases that weren't covered by the vaccine this year."

Dr. Gafford said the symptoms will hit you like a ton of bricks.

"Patients that began to get sick, maybe they were okay that morning but by within just a few hours you're beginning to see symptoms. That's kind of a key component of this illness," she said.

Fatigue, body aches, chills, and sore throats are some of those symptoms but in addition to all that there's usually one tell-tale sign.

"Fever is one of the biggest differentials. In adults we don't typically run a high fever but patients with the flu will run a significant temperature," she said.

Rest is the best thing you can do for viral infections. Dr. Gafford recommends at least 24 hours without a fever before you return to work or school.

For those of you still healthy, Dr. Gafford said it's especially important to make sure you're constantly washing your hands and covering your mouths while coughing or sneezing.