"The flu season tends to peak between December and February".
"In the last week, the CDC has seen a spike in flu-related visits to doctors' offices that report to the CDC".
That makes some sense, says Goldman, because that was another season where the prevalent strain of flu was due to the H3N2 virus.
"That is more than 90 percent of hospital beds that are filled within those public health districts", Alabama Acting Health Officer Scott Harris said.
Prior to implementing visitation restrictions, Mountain States and Wellmont hospitals were already taking a number of precautions, including providing protective masks at all entrances and designating separate waiting areas for patients experiencing fever and flu-like symptoms.
Seven children died from the flu in the United States last week, bringing the total pediatric flu deaths reported to the CDC this season up to 20.
The data for this season, while incomplete, have not reached the heights of the 2014-15 season according to the CDC, which was severe.
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The main reason the flu appears to be so severe is that it's a strain known as H3N2.
Across the globe people are not faring much better, according to the World Health Organization.
"For the safety of our patients and staff, visitation by children under 13 years of age is limited to extraordinary circumstances, such as severe illness of a parent or sibling, or end-of-life situation". Experts won't know how effective the 2017-2018 flu vaccine is until the flu season is over, but the experts are predicting that it will be around 30% effective.
Nevertheless, health officials are urging people to get vaccinated.
Swift said what most concerns her is the growing number of cases nationally, which can have an effect in the Mountain Empire. The vaccine seems to very effective for the strain that's most prevalent in the state right now, A (H3). The vaccine can also lessen the severity of illness in people who get sick. Flu season typically lasts up to 10 weeks. "We continue to see a high volume of cases of the flu in ER, but we are treating them and sending them home".
The CDC is warning that all high-risk patients with flu symptoms should be treated with antiviral drugs as soon as possible.
It's not that they don't have enough Tamiflu in stock, Winter said, the uptick is even causing suppliers to run out.