The number of flu cases in Alabama is on the rise

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - "We now know that among the eight public districts in the state of Alabama, at least seven of those have hospital capacities that are at 10 percent or less. That is more than 90 percent of hospital beds that are filled within those public health districts," Alabama Acting Health Officer Scott Harris said.

Harris said 30 out of the 67 Alabama counties have been hit hard by the flu this year. "This is the normal seasonal flu that we typically see. There is nothing out of the ordinary in terms of the type of influenza that we're seeing," Harris said.

He said some emergency rooms in the state have more patients than beds. Because of Governor Ivey's proclamation, it has made it easier for hospitals to activate their emergency operation plan.

Harris said hospitals can enforce an altered standard of care because of the extra patients. "Many times patients who have influenza or other illnesses may need to receive IV fluids, but during these altered standards of care there may be some cases where medical providers decide that oral hydration or oral fluids would suffice as well," Harris explained.

Harris said flu symptoms can last a couple of days, but someone can be infected with the virus for a week. "People typically have a high fever, chills, cough, and body aches," Harris said.

The Alabama Department of Public Health is urging everyone that falls ill with the flu to contact their primary doctor. They said to avoid going to the emergency room if possible.