Local experts offer tips to keep flu from spreading at holiday gatherings

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MADISON COUNTY, Tenn. — Local health officials say flu is on the rise and can spread quickly at holiday gatherings. “Everyone is in close quarters — it’s a prime environment for the spread of germs,” Family Care Nurse Practitioner Christy Ward said. Ward said they’ve seen an increase in Type A flu cases so far this year. “It seems to be picking up, and that can be due to the facts of being in closer quarters, and we’ve had mutations in the Type A flu virus this year,” Ward said. Ward explained being with family and friends means it’s important to make sure and take extra caution, because those germs could easily spread across the room. “If anyone is coughing, make sure they’re covering their mouth, and when they cough, dispose of the tissues — good hand washing,” Ward said. Health officials said the first 48 hours of having the flu is a crucial time period. If you’re feeling the onset of flu symptoms, go see a physician. Even though there have been issues with the flu vaccine, officials said it’s still important to get it. “The vaccine can still help protect,” Ward said. “Even if you do get diagnosed with the flu, it can lessen the symptoms of the mutated strand.” Doctors said even though you may want to be with family and friends, if you’re sick, it’s best to stay at home.

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