State Health Department says Swine Flu is no worse than regular flu

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA)--"Swine influenza appears to be no more severe than regular seasonal influenza," says Dr. Don Williamson with State Department of Health.

That's the message State Health Department officials wanted to get out tonight--encouraging Alabamians not to be alarmed about this new strain of the flu, but rather to remain cautious.

"We are now in a process where we're seeing this disease spread," Williamson says.

Wednesday night officials said there are two possible cases of the Swine flu--both in students at Heritage Elementary School in Madison.  They say the two are now recovering and were not hospitalized.  But Williamson says the city of Madison won't be the only town affected by the strain.

"We are following literally dozens of patients with influenza like illness in all parts of the state."

He says the goal is no longer to contain the strain, but control it.  That's why he stresses things you can do to stay healthy, like washing your hands, and staying home if you experience coughing, fever, or muscle aches that could be a sign of the flu.

Williamson says the state is ready to battle the outbreak with 700,000 doses of Tamiflu--some of which he says will be sent to Madison if needed.

For some Montgomery residents the possibility of catching the flu is prompting those healthy habits.

"Everytime I wait on somebody I wash my hands. That's not something I used to do," says Bill Black.

"I'm very concerned because anytime we have an outbreak of anything, that affects your family, my family," says Mary Ann Taite.