Decatur General Hospital held a news conference Tuesday to address concerns about the flu after four people died from flu-related complications.
The hospital said it is a bad flu season, but what's worse is the number of H1N1 cases they are seeing -- the most since at least 2009.
The hospital is now taking precautions to stop the flu from spreading by automatically isolating anyone who comes into the ER with a temperature of at least 100.4-degrees. A hospital spokesperson said the Emergency Room is handing out masks for both staff and patients to stop any droplets from getting into the air that may contain the flu.
It's not too late to get a flu shot because this year's shot protects against strains such as H1N1, the strain that killed Bobby Joe Tucker, 35, along with pneumonia. Tucker's grandmother said the Morgan County man died about a month ago at the hospital after getting H1N1. She said she's still in a state of disbelief because he was a healthy person.
"He was sick and went to the doctor," said Janette Tucker. "He was coherent for a couple of days and he wasn't from then on. They had to put him on oxygen and dialysis, and he passed away about a week later."
Tucker said her grandson did not get a flu vaccination this year. It's something that haunts her now more than a month after his death.
"It just hits you when I look at his picture there. I should put it up, but I can't," she said.
Decatur General said the hospital is seeing a greater impact of H1N1 cases on young people this year.
Morgan County isn't the only area seeing these types of deaths. The Lawrence County coroner said two people died from flu complications within the last month, including 25-year-old Will Tyler, who was buried Sunday.
Some emergency warning signs of the flu in children are fast or troubled breathing, bluish skin color, trouble waking up or interacting,
Some emergency warning signs of the flu in children are fast or troubled breathing, bluish skin color, trouble waking up or interacting, and being irritable and not wanting to be held. Adults may experience difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, and flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough.
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