Swine flu cases overwhelm doctors' offices

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Avoiding the swine flu illness has been tough for many in our area. Proof of that is seen at doctors' offices and clinics.

At American Family Care, there were 21 confirmed swine flu cases on Wednesday.

The illness has even spread to staff members, three are out sick with it.

The remaining staff members are doing well handling the large number of patients, which just started picking up in August. Highway 31's office is now providing masks for patients in the lobby.

Nurses have been busy giving seasonal flu shots, but one doctor says she's not sure what the response will be when the swine flu vaccine becomes available in October.

"We'll be fully stocked with seasonal flu vaccine and swine flu vaccine. We are expecting that a lot of people may be coming in to try and get it," said Dr. Celeste reese. "(There's) no way to judge because we didn't expect this many to be having swine flu at this point."

The staff estimates seeing from 25 to 30 patients a day. But on Monday, there were more than 50.

Local pediatricians have been swamped with parents bringing in their children.

Children are being urged to get the swine flu vaccination because they have had the worst cases of the illness so far.