Alabama fighting the flu, RSV
By WVUA 23 Student Reporter Gracie Fusco
TUSCALOOSA – Flu is top of mind for everyone right now. This year we are having an early start to our flu season and the numbers are concerning.
We are seeing high numbers of flu, COVID and RSV in Alabama hospitals.
Dr. Don Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association, says since almost no one is wearing a mask anymore, doctors are seeing a large increase in the spread of influenza since the start of COVID.
On Thursday, 188 Alabamians were hospitalized for COVID and 183 people were hospitalized for the flu. 27 people are currently in the ICU for COVID and 38 people are in the ICU for the flu.
Health care professionals want everyone to understand it is important to only go to the emergency room if you are ill, have chest pains, or shortness of breath.
If you are achy or have a low grade fever, contact your primary care provider instead of going to the ER where you will have a long wait and can expose other people.
This will also help hospitals in the state since they are still short staffed.
“We certainly are not at the levels of staffing we were prior to COVID,” said Williamson.
When it comes to RSV, almost all children get it before they turn 3. Williamson said children have not been exposed to it because of COVID isolation, which is resulting in the young children being more susceptible to it.
“Absolutely get the influenza vaccination,” said Williamson. “While it will not guarantee you won’t get influenza, it will reduce dramatically your risk of hospitalization and death.”
There are things you can do to help mitigate these challenges and lower these numbers.
Make sure to get your flu shot, stay up-to-date on your COVID vaccine and booster shots, and wash your hands, cover your cough, and stay home if you are sick.