Flu cases causing rise in emergency room visits - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Flu cases causing rise in emergency room visits

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

The flu is spreading fiercely across the United States. Some health officials are even calling it an epidemic.

Emergency rooms in the Valley are seeing a lot of people with flu like symptoms coming in for treatment, some of those people started coming before the flu season officially started.

Greg Johnson knows all too well what it's like to have the flu.  He had the virus a few weeks ago.

"I was feeling out of breath, it was hard to breathe, and I was really weak," he said.  "I was so hot that I was blacking out, and I took about five feet out of my bedroom, and I collapsed on the floor, and I woke up in the emergency room and the doctors told me I had the flu really bad."

This flu strain has gotten a head start over its typical season.

"What we're seeing with this one that's a little different is it's more infectious," said Dr. Tim Howard.  "It's a classic presentation and the people get just as sick as they typically do, but if you are around it and you have not had a flu shot, the likelihood of you getting it is much greater than several years before."

Howard recommends the flu shot to anyone who hasn't had it, especially since this virus will be sticking around longer than usual.

"The Center for Disease Control has now made a statement that not only are we seeing it earlier, it's going to be longer," he said.  "We're talking about into March before it finally settles down."

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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