(Montgomery, Ala.) Alabama has been hit hard by the latest round of the flu. In 2011, there were close to 900 flu related deaths. Officials do not believe this year's numbers of deaths will exceed last year's, but they do urge Alabamians to get vaccinated.
State Health Officer Dr. Donald Williamson said the state is doing its part to monitor the flu outbreak, but he is urging Alabamians to do their part.
Flu season came nearly two months earlier than expected, and state officials are preparing for what is to come.
"Flu season has taken off in November. It has remained high in December, and it still remains above historic levels even now in January. I would not at all be surprised to continue to have high levels of influenza like illness into March," said State Health Officer Donald Williamson.
Officials reported Friday, doctors across the state of Alabama have seen an increase in flu visits this year than this time last year. It has also been reported influenza H3 accounts for the majority of cases.
Williamson said, "Now H3 influenza tends to cause more severe disease than influenza H1."
Williams stated the state has stocked up on not only vaccinations but medications.
"There is no shortage of Tamiflu state wide, and fortunately if there is a need . We do have stock piles of Tamiflu," stated Williamson.
State and Local officials are asking Alabamians to be proactive and do their part.
"It's not only for your their protection, but it also has to do with protecting others. You're around in a crowd, you'll get the immunization and you'll be safe," said Mobile Health Department Director of Disease Control Monica Knight.
State officials stated the shot is not a perfect vaccine, but it can drastically reduce your chance of getting and spreading the flu.
Health experts urge residents to stay home and seek care withing two days if experiencing flu like symptoms. .