Flu, other bugs spread across Tennessee Valley - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Flu, other bugs spread across Tennessee Valley

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Pathogens and bacteria that cause illnesses thrive when it gets colder outside. Pathogens and bacteria that cause illnesses thrive when it gets colder outside.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

The flu virus is spreading across the country, including here in the Valley. Fayetteville schools closed down because of the outbreak.

There is a vaccine available, and time to build immunity. That takes about two weeks. In the past week, reported cases of the flu have shot through the roof, and Alabama is one of the hardest hit states.

However, a lot of people are getting sick because of other bugs too.

WAFF medical expert Dr. Tim Howard said he's seeing many patients with the stomach bug. Like the flu, it's very contagious. Unlike the flu, there is no vaccine.

You can try to prevent the spread of it by cleaning, cleaning, and cleaning some more. That means cleaning yourself, cleaning places where people tend to touch a lot - like countertops and door knobs - and by cleaning contaminated clothes with bleach.

Howard said it's common to see these rises in the stomach virus this time of year because bacteria and pathogens that cause the stomach bug, the flu, strep throat, and many other illnesses, thrive when it gets colder outside.

"When someone is active with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, they are contagious. And you want to isolate them the best you can. You live in the real world where it's a challenge, but you try to isolate them the best you can. You're going to talk about, of course, good hand washing, don't drink after someone who's been exposed," said Howard.

Now, back to the flu, if you haven't gotten your shot, it's a good idea to get the vaccine now. It takes a couple weeks to build up that immunity.

Copyright 2012 WAFF. All rights reserved.

Flu Information

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U.S. Flu Map: Symptoms: Fever Cough Sore throat Runny or stuffy nose Muscle or body aches Headaches Fatigue More from the CDC More>>

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