State health officials prepare for a dynamic flu season

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - State health officials are preparing for the possibility of a deadly flu season, but hoping to avoid a flu pandemic.

In a normal flu season there are up to 700 deaths statewide.

But if the swine flu becomes more severe, there will be more cases and health officials say there could be up to 3,000 deaths.

Health officials are warning all of us to protect ourselves, especially schools.

Absentee rates could jump significantly if more children get the virus.

Educational posters are going up in Hoover City Schools, which tell students how to keep germs away.

"We are very fortunate we have a district nurse and school nurse in each of our seventeen schools so we have a lot of medical personnel that can tend to our 12, 600 students, " said Jason Gaston with Hoover City Schools. "They are the first line of defense in keeping our students healthy."

Jefferson County Health Department officials have met with public and private school officials to about swine flu.

Testing trials are underway for the swine flu vaccine.

Jefferson County health officials say the earliest it will be available is October.