School districts all across the Midsouth have canceled classes, due to sickness. Several schools in Tennessee and Kentucky have shut its doors for the rest of the week.
So far about a half dozen schools are closed due to flu, strep throat, and stomch viruses, and school officials say this sort of outbreak isn't uncommon, but it's usually not this widespread
"You can imagine that if enough teachers or school administrators are sick it's really hard to have a functional school environment," said Buddy Creech, MD, MPH, Vanderbilt Unviersity Medical Center.
A functional school environment where children come to learn, but many are staying home sick along with educators who are too sick to teach.
"This is an interesting time of the year every year for us. We always see these clusters of not necessarily outbreaks but these clusters of infection due to strep, and influenza and other respiratory virtues," said Dr. Creech.
Dr. Creech is a infectious disease Physician at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and in the last month the hospital has handled 99 cases of flu.
School districts have also had its fair share of flu cases.
"We think a lot of that is because of the close encounters that kids have with one another in the school setting but it's also because of the time of year it is. This is the time of year where we see a ton of respiratory viruses and a ton of G-I viruses," said Dr. Creech.
Illness has forced several school systems in Tennessee and Kentucky to cancel class, and some school districts like Overton County and Stewart County will be closed until next week.
"The most important thing we can do during this time is remind people that we have prevention for some of these infections like flu vaccines, to influenza. Like good hand washing for most infections," said Dr. Creech.
The school districts with its doors shut have been busy sanitizing desks, and hallways.. hoping to stop the spread of germs, and get students and teachers back in classrooms.
"It takes a village of vaccinating to say not here we're going to vaccinate in a way so that influenza doesn't get a root," said Dr. Creech.
Dr. Creech says the best way to combat flu is to get the vaccine, wash your hands frequently, and cover your mouth while sneezing or coughing.