In Jackson County, across the state and even across the country, the influenza (flu) outbreak has been rampant and deadly. Many are calling it a record year for the viral infection.

According to reports, flu-related deaths number 44 across Alabama, including 10 in Northeast Alabama. Across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate at least 37 children have died from the flu this season.

It is not too late to vaccinate for the flu. Each year, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention studies how well the flue vaccine protects against flu illness.

The vaccine reduces the chances of getting the flu by about 50-60 percent or more when the vaccine viruses are like the ones circulating in the community.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, laboratory tests this year show that most of the circulating virus in Alabama is influenza A (H3), which is similar to the virus protection found in this year’s flu vaccine.

So, it’s not too late to get vaccinated. In addition, it’s important to wash hands, cover coughs and stay home when you have flu-like symptoms.

It’s serious.

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