Health officials in King County say we are already seeing a small uptick in the number of people going to emergency rooms complaining of flu like symptoms.

In other parts of the country emergency rooms are being overwhelmed and the situation here will likely only get worse her in western Washington.

The good news is healthcare workers have had time to prepare and gained valuable experience dealing with the H1-N1virus during the first wave.

They are ratcheting things up but say they will be ready.

From emergency rooms at major hospitals like Harborview Medical Center and Children's Hospital, to small urgent care centers like U.S. Health Works, the much anticipated and much feared flu season is already underway.

Doctor Steven Sorsby, Director of U.S. Health Works Medical Clinics says; "We're already seeing people come in with influenza-A… the novel H1N1."

Doctor Sorsby says the first step to stay ahead of the virus is to make sure his staff is healthy, so they've all been vaccinated with the seasonal flu vaccine and will be among the first vaccinated with the H1N1 vaccine when it becomes available in early October.

Meantime Sorsby says his clinics are already ready.

Dr. Sorsby says; "We have all the appropriate supplies that we need. We already have signs up in our clinics to ask people if they do come with illness, cough, fever, those sorts of things to go ahead and put a mask on."

The fear is we could experience something like what is happening at a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

A hospital emergency room so inundated with patients complaining of flu like symptoms, tents will soon be set up to handle the overflow.

The King County Health Department says young people appear to be more susceptible to the virus and that puts Children's Medical Center in the cross hairs.

Children's' plan is to be able to isolate potentially infected patients and use rooms where fresh air flows in and is filtered before it flows out.

Plus personal protective equipment like gowns and masks and eye guards will be used here and overflow space in the hospital has been identified.

Plus Children's Hospital doctors are also taking a proactive approach to avoiding a rush on it's Emergency Room by educating parents on how to know whether they need to bring their child here to the ER or wait to see their private physician.

They've made that info readily available on their website where frequently asked questions are answered by a doctor.

Here are some symptoms to watch for.

Bring your child to the ER if:

He or she experiences:

*Fast breathing or trouble breathing, * Bluish skin color * Not drinking enough fluids * Not waking up or not interacting * Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held, * Flu-like symptoms improve, but then return with fever and a worse cough * Fever with a rash

The Health Department says every other hospital, Harborview, Swedish and others are all taking similar steps, but the hope is people will heed the warning from the Centers For Disease Control and stay home until 24 hours after fever breaks.

That they say is the best way to curb the spread of the virus.