Feeling like you’ve got a stomach bug? You’re far from alone right now

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Mackenzie Wanicka

As COVID-19 finally appears under control, with fewer hospitalizations than ever and the recent end of federal mask mandates, there’s another illness creeping back into West Alabama: the stomach flu.

While flu season most often takes place in the fall and winter, this spring is seeing more flu cases than COVID.

MedCenter Urgent Care Owner Dr. Chris McGee said flu cases have been rising steadily throughout West Alabama. The spots most impacted? School systems.

“COVID is almost completely gone,” he said. “We’re seeing one or two cases a day when we were seeing 50 to 60 cases a day just a few weeks ago. The flu numbers are more like three, four, sometimes five a day.”

While flu cases aren’t coming in consistently, McGee said certain age groups take up most of the reported cases and excel at spreading it to others.

“We have been seeing local outbreaks in some of the school systems,” he said. “It seems to be very spotty. One school will breakout and it will sort of stay in one kind of age group. They’ll get it for a while and then it moves to a different school.”

But there are ways you can protect yourself from the flu, and things to remind children when it comes to keeping illnesses at bay.

McGee said he recommends:

  • Washing hands
  • Don’t go to school or work if you’re feeling ill
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
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