MADISON, Ala. - Officials confirm the flu is widespread throughout the state. Several schools in North Alabama have had to close due to the number of students who are out sick with the virus. Currently, two schools in the Lawrence County School District are closed until Monday.
The state released its weekly flu report and Alabama's flu activity has grown for the third week in a row.
Madison City Schools along with several districts in our area are seeing a spike in flu activity. The CDC recommended frequently cleaning commonly touched surfaces at schools to prevent the spread of the disease. Madison City Schools is doing just that with a new tool they purchased this year to fight the spread of germs.
Officials from the Madison City Schools District are fighting the flu. Part of this fight is urging parents to keep their sick kids at home.
"They really just need to stay home and rest. They just don't perform well in school if they feel well," the district's lead nurse, Bonnie Davis, said.
The flu is considered to be very contagious. According to the CDC, most medical experts believe the virus mainly spreads by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. The virus can be spread by a person 6 feet away and can linger on surfaces for up to 24 hours. At a school, that's a long time.
"Especially, at the middle and high schools, where the classes are changing. You've got multiple kids sitting at the same desk all day long," Davis said.
That's why district officials say disinfectant sprayers they bought earlier this year are an important tool in their arsenal.
"Spray disinfectant using ionization and it stays on surfaces longer, lasts longer and it's more efficient," Davis said.
The district makes sure schools seeing higher flu-related absences are cleaned using these machines.
"We focus on those schools and then we kind of rotate through the other schools trying to keep up with it," Davis said.
District officials also want students and staff to join the fight by making sure they wash their hands often.
The CDC says disinfectant wipes can be very effective for fighting germs. The organization recommends using brands that are endorsed by the EPA, that way you know it can kill the influenza 'A' strain of the virus.