State Officials Warn About Flu Outbreak

By: Deanna Bettineschi Email
By: Deanna Bettineschi Email

Officials are saying this year's flu, is one for the record books.
The virus started spreading much earlier this year, and is expected to last much longer.

“If you look at Alabama’s flu season this year, it’s certainly worse than the flu season of 2011.” State Health Officer Donald Williamson said.

This scary fact was just the starting point for a bundle of new information just released by state officials.

“The overwhelming majority of influenza circulating in Alabama is influenza "a". That’s important because influenza "a" tends to cause more severe disease.” Williamson said.

The most severe strain of influenza "a"…virus h-3.
This causes even more severe symptoms than h-1 which we saw several years ago.
And doctors are struggling to keep up with all the patients.

“We see hospitals as busy. We see some hospitals that are at or near capacity, but we don’t have any hospitals that are stretched beyond capacity.” Williamson said.

Williamson says the good news, is that compared to other states, Alabama isn't running out of any necessary supplies.

“We are pleased to announce there are abundant supply of influenza vaccine in county health departments, as well as adequate supply of the vaccine in the private market.” Williamson said.

Tamiflu, the prescription given if you have the flu, isn't running out either.
But Williamson says even if you are on this medicine, you still need lots of rest.

“While it may be important for you to be at work, your co-workers will not appreciate you sharing the virus with them.” Williamson said.

He says always remember to cough in your elbow and not your had so you don't spread germs as easily.
Williamson said he wouldn't be surprised to see high levels of influenza continue into March.


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