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The number of flu cases in Alabama is on the rise

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu activity is now widespread in most of the United States. While it is possible that flu season peaked around the holidays and illnesses will gradually decline, it is also possible that the flu season could get even worse in 2018 before it gets better.

So far, there have been no flu-related deaths of children in Nebraska.

The acting state health officer, Scott Harris, said hospitals in almost one-third of Alabama's counties are at 90 percent of their patient capacity, and some are full. Officials also recommend that sick people stay home until they are fever free (without medication) for at least 24 hours, cover their mouths when they cough and wash their hands often.

Cartter said "We're hearing from hospitals across the state that many are full, they have no extra beds, they're seeing lots of ill patients with influenza like illnesses or confirmed cases of flu".

Most of those hospitalized are older than 65 or between 50 and 64 years old, and children younger than five.

Symptoms of the flu include fever that last three or four days, severe muscle or body aches, chills, severe chest discomfort and cough, headaches and fatigue.

H3N2 typically does produce an increased number of hospitalizations and deaths, Goldman said, and it has been making its mark in Pennsylvania, too.

Dr. Robert Palinkas, executive director of Northwestern University Health Service, offers the following advice on how to respond to the uptick in flu cases.

"With influenza activity on the rise, individuals in these groups should take special precaution as we continue throughout the season", he said.

If you're sick, stay home from school or work.

"Starting about two and a half weeks ago we began to see a significant uptick in the number of emergency room visits directly related to the flu".

"The difference between the two [types] is that Influenza A - particularly H3N2 - which has been predominating in recent years, tends to affect older people".

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