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Possible flu death prompts flu shot clinics across Alabama

VIVIAN, LA - DECEMBER 12: With a temperature of 103.8, Asa Moore, 6, of Vivian, Louisiana is examined by John Messier, a physician's assistant, at the North Caddo Surgical and Medical Center for symptoms of Influenza December 12, 2003 in Vivian, Louisiana. Moore had not received a flu shot and the medical center was out of the vaccine. (Photo by Mario Villafuerte/Getty Images)

A child’s death is prompting the Alabama Department of Public Health to offer more flu shot clinics. Department officials say they don’t know for sure that the death is related to influenza (flu), but it is believed to be a result.

The flu, which has increasing activity levels across the state, is a very contagious respiratory illness and the best preventive measure for influenza illness remains the flu vaccine.

Health departments across the state will be conducting flu shot clinics statewide. Vaccine is available for both children and adults and there will be no charge for the vaccination during these Influenza Vaccination Clinics.

A list of locations, dates and times can be found at alabamapublichealth.gov/immunization. Due to impending weather conditions, we may be forced to reschedule these, so please call the numbers located within the Influenza Clinic Schedule found at alabamapublichealth.gov/immunization.

Some of the symptoms of influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, headache, muscle aches, and extreme fatigue.

Preventive measures include:

· Get flu vaccine, it is not too late
· Stay at home when ill
· Cover your cough and sneeze
· Wash hands
· Clean and disinfect

Dr. Wes Stubblefield, President of the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, stated, “I have never seen a flu season this serious. Pediatricians are alarmed about the severity of recent cases and I urge families to be vaccinated against influenza as well as follow the advice of their physicians regarding any treatment measures, including antivirals.”  Antiviral medication should be considered to reduce the severity of influenza. Dr. Karen Landers, pediatrician with ADPH, states, “While much of the information for antiviral use has been for high risk patients, antiviral medication can be prescribed early in the course of the illness in otherwise healthy persons as determined by the clinical judgment of the healthcare provider.  The medication works best when given within the first 24-48 hours of symptom onset.”

The Alabama Department of Public Health issued the above statement to WHNT News 19.