The flu and other viruses are hitting Eastern Kentucky and now many schools are closed because too many students are sick. Nearly a dozen school systems in Eastern Kentucky say their attendance is low because of sickness. Now the schools hope a few days off will help the kids get better.
"It's been going on for about a week now. We just watched our attendance decline," said Kristina Springer with the Floyd County School System.
Floyd County schools are just one of many school systems that have closed due to illness.
Doctor William M. Johnson with the Pikeville Medical Center says they have seen a drastic increase in the number illnesses and suggests people avoid crowds such as school when they are sick to keep from spreading viruses.
"An individual that even has the flu, to always cover their mouth and nose to reduce the spread of the virus," Dr. Johnson said.
Bill Dotson with Pike County Schools say they actually received calls from area doctors suggesting they close school because they were seeing so many sick kids.
"The health department tells us it's best to keep them home as long as they have a fever and 24 hours after the fever is down, they can send them to school and they're quite safe," Dotson said.
Dr. Johnson says washing your hands can keep a lot of bacteria and viruses from ever entering your system. He also says it’s never too late to get your flu shot, especially with what he calls the current outbreak.
"CDC is now reporting it is 80% the "A" type of flu and about 20% the "B" type of flu," Dr. Johnson said.
Type "A" is the type of flu Dr. Johnson says the flu vaccine would help prevent. The school systems and doctors say if kids and their families can follow these tips they may avoid getting sick.
Doctor Johnson recommends parents and teachers remind students to wash their hands and cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze. As of right now, the school systems are just closed through the end of the week so they should be open Monday.