Flu season tends to spike as kids return from winter break and begin to spread germs among each other.
Six-year-old Estella is ready to return to school on Tuesday.
“I love to learn and read,” Estella said.
What Estella doesn’t love are her classmate’s germs.
“They don’t even cough in their elbow or anything,” Estella said.
Last year at this time, some Middle Tennessee school districts closed because the flu was so widespread.
Professor of pediatrics at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Dr. Joseph Gigante says January and February are usually when we see a flu uptick.
“Once they get back together and start to share those viruses with one another, that’s when we start to see the flu cases start to spike up,” Dr. Gigante said.
The CDC’s current “FluView” map shows Tennessee with minimal flu activity, but the states surrounding Tennessee have high to moderate levels. The map is a slightly better picture than this time last year, but usually the spike comes after the new year.
“It’s almost not a matter of if but when we’re going to start to see more cases of the flu,” Dr. Gigante said.
Dr. Gigante says the flu vaccine is the best protection and it’s available for anyone over six months. Dr. Gigante recommends getting it sooner rather than later because it takes about two weeks to be effective.
Parents should also teach their children to cough and sneeze into their elbow, and also how to practice good hand washing skills. The CDC says good hand washing is washing you hands for about 20 seconds or while you sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.