Locals watching flu fears

Published 12:46 pm Wednesday, April 29, 2009

By By Lisa Tindell
news editor

Yank Lovelace is headed off on a cruise in the Mediterranean, but planning which swim trunks isn’t his only worry.
Lovelace, a liver transplant patient, is taking steps to be ready if he should be hit with flu-like symptoms while on a family vacation.
In the wake of a swine flu outbreak being reported in Mexico and several American cities, Lovelace spent time in the office of Brewton physician Dan Raulerson Tuesday getting tips and medications to put in the suitcase with his trunks.
Raulerson said he is aware of the Alabama Department of Public Health’s activity surrounding reports of the Swine Flu in this region.
Although Raulerson said he has not treated any patients with flu-like symptoms in his office, he did say he has advice for those who are suffering.
Raulerson has issued the prescription drug Tamiflu to patients who have had the sudden onset of flu symptoms.
Raulerson said preventative measures are key in keeping any flu virus at bay.
Lovelace agreed. So much, in fact, that he has taken steps to help keep his employees well at work.
Dr. Donald Williamson, state health officer with the Alabama Department of Public Health, said prevention and proactive steps against the flu virus may keep more people out of the doctor’s office and on the job.
Williamson said other regions are experiencing an increased number of patients experiencing flu-like symptoms, Alabama had no confirmed cases as of Tuesday. Health officials were testing samples for the infection, including some from Baldwin County.
As of Tuesday evening, the U.S. had 68 confirmed cases of swine flu.