Flu definitely showing itself in north Alabama; health department tracking it with interactive map

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - An uptick in flu activity is grabbing the attention of doctors in the Tennessee Valley.  While we're well into the peak flu season, doctors say it's not too late to roll up your sleeve and get that shot.

Dr. Scott Harris with the Alabama Department of Public Health says in the last month, the flu has really ramped up in north Alabama.

The Alabama Department of Public Health is tracking flu activity on this interactive map. Click here to check it for yourself.

The Alabama Department of Public Health is tracking flu activity on this interactive map. Click here to check it for yourself.

"It looks like the flu vaccine this year is a good match for the type of flu that's circulating predominantly. There's always lots of strains of flu and the vaccine doesn't cover all of them," said Dr. Harris.

Since vaccine predictions are in line with expectations this year, Dr. Harris recommends not waiting on getting your flu shot and the reason why might surprise you.  The ADPH is tracking flu activity throughout the state, and its surveillance map monitors flu swabs in every county, calculating what percentage is positive.

View the map for yourself and drag the slider bar.  The time-lapse will show you flu activity increase from the start of the season in October to the latest week recorded.  The week before Christmas was significant.

Dr. Scott Harris, of the Alabama Department of Public Health

Dr. Scott Harris, of the Alabama Department of Public Health

"Holiday time, holiday gatherings are a real common place for flu transmission because you just have so many people indoors for long periods of time and one sick person can give that to lots of others," said Dr. Harris.

Dr. Harris encourages you to get a flu shot to protect yourself, especially if you have underlying heath problems.  He also recommends it for the elderly and young children.