Health workers say that flu cases have doubled in the last week in Jefferson County.
Dr. Glenn Harnett of American Family Care says his clinic has seen a 70 percent increase in patients who are sick, many with the flu. And with more holiday gatherings, health workers expect the numbers to rise even more.
The CDC has increased the flu threat level in Alabama to a regional spread, which is the second highest level for surveillance according to Harnett. In Jefferson County the county's health department is seeing flu cases nearly double in one week based on their sample sites. Last week only two percent of county residents had flu-like symptoms at those same sites.
Doctors recommend that everyone from six months of age and up get a flu shot. And if you do come down with the flu, there's some good news. Health officials say if you are diagnosed within 48 hours of the beginning of your symptoms, doctors can prescribe anti-viral medication to shorten the duration of your flu.
The Jefferson County Healthy Department offers free flu shots for Medicare and BlueCross BlueShield insurance members. Other carriers will often cover flu shots so check with your provider.
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