DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — Just days after a local elementary school closed due to a flu and RSV outbreak, Decatur doctors say parents to take precautions.
“Definitely in that last few weeks, we’ve seen a rise in flu cases,” said Dr. Meg Ingram of Decatur-Morgan Pediatrics.
The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) said flu season typically runs from October through May. However, this many cases in the community at once is surprising to Dr. Ingram.
“We typically see flu a little later on into the winter season,” Ingram explained. “It’s certainly here.”
Data from ADPH shows a week-to-week increase in the number of flu cases in north Alabama.
Dr. Ingram recommends families get their flu vaccines, and stick to preventative measures like hand washing.
She said most people who get the flu end up with a mild case, but parents should be prepared.
“One of the main complications of the flu that we do worry about is pneumonia and they can also develop dehydration as well,” she said. “Certainly if there’s any concerns about their breathing, you know of if they aren’t able to keep themselves hydrated, those would be reasons they need to be seen [by a doctor] sooner.”
Another virus keeping Dr. Ingram’s waiting room busy is RSV, which stands for respiratory syncytial virus. It is spread through droplets, but also transmitted on surfaces.
“[RSV] tends to be more severe in younger kids,” said Dr. Ingram. “It is a respiratory virus so it can cause congestion, cough, but can also cause difficulty breathing.”
Dr. Ingram said at the moment there is no vaccine available to the general public for RSV.
The continued prevalence of cases in the Decatur area has prompted school officials at Decatur City Schools to continue virtual learning at Austinville Elementary School through Monday, October 31.