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Seasonal Flu Information

Weekly Seasonal Flu Statistics

What is the Flu?

Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly.

People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

What Should I do if I have the Flu?

The Jefferson County Department of Health and Birmingham-area hospitals urge residents with minor flu or flu-like symptoms to refrain from going to hospital emergency departments. Our emergency departments need to be able focus their attention on the sicker people. Mild cases of the flu usually do not require a hospital visit.

Most people do not need to be tested for the flu. Be aware that rapid flu tests used in many outpatient health care settings are not 100% accurate. False negative rapid test results are common during the peak of the flu season. (False negative tests results say you don’t have the flu when you actually do.) So if you have flu symptoms and you have a negative rapid flu test, you should not assume that you do not have the flu.

In most cases, the best way to treat the flu is to rest at home, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid contact with other people. Antiviral drugs should be considered for people with severe flu illness, and people who are at high risk of serious flu complications based on their age or health. Other people also may be treated with antiviral drugs. Most people who are otherwise healthy and get the flu do not need to be treated with antiviral drugs.

Seek Medical Care for these Serious Flu Symptoms


In children:
  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

In adults:
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

In addition to the signs above, get medical help right away for any infant who has any of these signs:
  • Being unable to eat
  • Has trouble breathing
  • Has no tears when crying
  • Significantly fewer wet diapers than normal

How can I Protect Myself and Others from the Flu?

  • Get the flu vaccine if you are 6 months of age and older
  • Cover your cough and sneeze
  • Wash your hands
  • Clean living and working areas
  • Avoid crowds
  • Stay home from work or school if you are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

Everyone needs to do their part to protect themselves and others, and to help prevent the spread of influenza in our community. Everyone should also make an effort to use our health care resources appropriately. If you think you have the flu and are unsure what to do, call your health care provider.
Central Health Center
(Guy M. Tate)

1400 Sixth Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35233
Programs and Clinics
(205) 933-9110
Eastern Health Center
601 West Blvd Roebuck
Birmingham, AL 35206
Programs and Clinics
(205) 591-5180
Western Health Center
631 Bessemer Super Hwy
Midfield, AL 35228
Programs and Clinics
(205) 715-6121
 



Copyright © 2018 Jefferson County Department of Health