Alabama reports early influenza activity, doctors urge people to - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Alabama reports early influenza activity, doctors urge people to get vaccinated

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It may sound like a broken record but advice is still important no matter how many times its said:  Get your flu shot! 

Just ask Vestavia's Dr. Colleen Tobe Donohue. 
 
"We're seeing it more so in our elderly population and then actually in the parents," said Donohue. 

Donohue is giving out more flu vaccines to elderly patients though young adults are getting vaccinated as well. 

"We've seen a few people get ill but it has not been so severe. The younger people have been more common, like parent ages," said Donohue. "They want to really nip it in the bud." 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists Alabama as one of three states reporting influenza activity, and doctors know this is just the beginning with flu season set to reach its peak in the early part of 2014. 

"It's hard to tell what's going to happen. It might be the next month we see a lot of cases. Then the next month we don't. So, typically our peak season is January, February for us here in Alabama," said Tracey England, Nurse Manager with the Alabama Department of Health.  

The state health department says currently it has shipped fewer doses of the vaccine to facilities even though the shot is readily available. The assumption is that more people are getting immunized earlier, which is music to the ears of healthcare providers everywhere. 

"We had deaths from flu before.  Last year, myself I saw maybe two. And the great thing about that is if we vaccinate, encourage people to come in early when they get sick, we can prevent a lot of that," said Donohue. 

 

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