LEEDS, Ala. (WBRC) - Just days into the flu season, people are already being treated for the virus in Birmingham and the state is monitoring one area with “significant influenza activity.”
The Alabama Department of Public Health is reporting confirmed flu activity for the past few weeks in the East Central District Counties which include Coosa and Tallapoosa.
Dr. Stephen Russell, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at UAB, said he has treated patients with the flu at UAB Medicine Leeds.
“We’ve already seen cases of the flu at our office and at the hospital as well,” said Dr. Russell.
He added, “Even though it is hot outside, the flu is here.”
Dr. Russell says it’s important to get the vaccine as soon as possible because it takes time for it to become effective.
“It takes about two weeks from the time you get the flu shot until your body is fully protected and ready to fight it off.”
This year’s flu vaccine is a quadrivalent, meaning it protects against four strains of the virus. Trivalent regular dose flu shots will not be available this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The flu vaccine is the best and only protection to protect somebody specifically from getting the flu. We know the flu vaccine does not give you the flu. It prepares your immune system to see, recognize and fight off the flu,” explained Dr. Russell.