BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Doctors’ offices are packed with flu cases right now. The virus is even putting a big strain on some hospitals in our area.
Doctors at Children’s of Alabama tell us everyone seems to be getting the flu at the same time this year.
Since January the hospital had had more than 1,000 positive flu tests. We’re told the hospital is seeing 100-150 patients a day more than usual. At Emergi-Care in Tuscaloosa, Dr. Phillip Bobo tells us out of the 120 or so patients he sees a day, between 30-40 are flu cases. The majority of those cases are children. A number of schools in Alabama are closed because flu is running rampant in them.
"Last year started earlier than this year did. We've just really picked it up in the last two to three weeks,” Dr. Phillip Bobo with Emergi-Care in Tuscaloosa said. "I see patients come in and all their families members are just hovering over them. They’re all going to get the flu most of the time."
If you have severe flu symptoms and experience chest pain or trouble breathing then you should go to an emergency room. If the symptoms are not as bad or if you have a loved one experiencing mild to moderate flu systems then an urgent care may be your best option to keep from overcrowding the ER,
"If people have the symptoms, I treat them. I do test them and if they test positive then obviously we know they do for sure but when they are feeling really bad. The people who are really at risk are the very young, very old and very ill,” Dr. Bobo said.
UAB tells us it’s seeing high volumes of patients in the ER and in its urgent care and primary care clinics. We’re told the cases there are for the most part less severe than last year. UAB says the flu vaccine has been very effective this year against the primary strains of the flu.