The Center for Disease Control is getting information out everyday regarding the Coronavirus. It's becoming the sickness - let's be honest - we're all sick and tired of hearing about. That doesn't mean that it shouldn't be taken seriously, though. While we continue to hear how we should be prepared for 'when' not 'if' the Coronavirus spreads in the U.S., many families are battling an all-to-familiar foe - the flu.

We're seeing widespread flu activity across the country, but the concern gets all too real when we look at the numbers for our area here in East Texas. According to Walgreen's latest Flu Index, East Texas ranks highest in the area for flu activity. If you take an even closer look at the map, Mount Pleasant has been looped in the top 10 markets for the flu nationally.

The Top 10 designated markets for flu activity are:

1. Charleston-Huntington, W.Va.
2. Oklahoma City, Okla.
3. Columbia-Jefferson City, Mo.
4. Shreveport, La.
5. Lafayette, La.
6. Monroe, La.-El Dorado, Ark.
7. Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Ark.
8. Joplin, Mo.-Pittsburg, Kan.
9. Springfield, Mo.
10. Davenport, Iowa-Rock Island-Moline, Ill.

According to the CDC, there are a number of ways you can continue to protect yourself from the flu virus. The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu.

Keep in mind these helpful tips:

  1. Avoid close contact.
    Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
  1. Stay home when you are sick.
    If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
  1. Cover your mouth and nose.
    Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu and other serious respiratory illnesses, like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), are spread by cough, sneezing, or unclean hands.
  1. Clean your hands.
    Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.