School attendance impacted by flu in East Alabama

LEE COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - Lee County Schools Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jason Wright tells says that Smiths Station High and Middle schools are seeing an increase of student and teacher absences related to the flu.

Wright says the information was sent home to parents notifying them of flu cases being present and how to prevent their child from being infected.

Lee County Schools are encouraging all students and faculty to wash their hands and practice healthy habits.

Wright also says as protocol, students who are showing flu-like symptoms are held in the nurse's office until they are picked up out of concern for health safety of other students and staff.

Dr. Oscar Almeida works at one of three Stopwatch Urgent Care locations in East Alabama. He says his staff is devoting more time to spraying Lysol and using hand sanitizer to battle the almost 200 new cases they are seeing daily.

"Some of our providers have dubbed our clinic flu central because of how many patients we are seeing," Almeida said.

Lee County Coroner Bill Harris says in his 20 years he's seen less than 10 flu-related deaths.

The Red Cross is in crisis, saying its blood banks have reached critical levels.

The flu and the winter weather have them sending out donations faster than they're coming in and they calling for an immediate need of blood-givers.

Flu season typically runs from October-May.

Dr. Almeida anticipates this strain of flu will continue into part of March with a decline in cases getting closer to April.

"The CDC states this is a flu epidemic we've witnessed at our clinics," Almeida said.

Doctors recommend washing your hands and if you are experiencing any symptoms such as a sore throat or vomiting you should see a healthcare professional immediately.

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