How to battle the flu during Mardi Gras season - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

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How to battle the flu during Mardi Gras season

MOBILE COUNTY, AL (WALA) -

The flu is still spreading rapidly along the Gulf Coast, and with Mardi Gras season fast approaching, some doctors are concerned it may spread even more.

"Probably 50 percent of the patients we've been seeing over the last six weeks have had the flu,” said Doctor Michael Stodard with American Family Care. “I've been practicing for 38 or 39 years now, and I cannot remember a flu season this bad."

Mardi Gras is something many wait for all year, and come this Friday, the streets of Downtown Mobile will be filled with people for a three week party. However, Dr. Stodard says sick people and large crowds do not mix.

"Influenza is transmitted when people congregate, Primarily, it is transmitted with hand contact -- shaking hands with somebody who has the flu. Even breathing air around an infected person can give you the flu."

He says while physical contact and sharing drinks are the biggest threat to spreading the virus, the throws we love to catch can also be covered in germs.

"The flu virus can stay on surfaces for a period of time, and let's hope that all those who are throwing beads don't have the flu,” said Stodard.

Let’s be honest though, people in the Port City love their Mardi Gras. So, how can you combat the virus if you attend?

Stodard said one of the most important things is to wash your hands as often as possible. He also recommends to try and avoid shaking hands with others.

"I would basically carry a gallon jug of hand sanitizer and be using it the entire time I was out there,” laughed Stodard. “Try to get away from anybody you hear coughing and sneezing."

He was joking about the "gallon" of hand sanitizer, but he does recommend carrying some of the smaller containers with you at parades and using them often when you are unable to wash your hands.

We also reached out to officials from the Mobile County Health Department to get their take on the flu during Mardi Gras Season. To read the health tips they sent us, click here.

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