BATON ROUGE- If you haven't gotten your flu shot, it's not too late. Louisiana's flu activity remains widespread and very high. Flu symptoms accounted for 15 percent of the state's doctor visits last week. The Louisiana Department of Health wants to help protect you and your family from the flu. Next week LDH is offering flu vaccinations to everyone at Greater Baton Rouge area parish health units. No appointments are necessary.
Ascension Parish Health Unit
Iberville Parish Health Unit
East Baton Rouge Parish Health Unit
Pointe Coupee Parish Health Unit
East Feliciana Parish Health Unit
West Baton Rouge Parish Health Unit
A flat fee of $10 will be charged for patients who fall into a fee-paying category, but services will not be denied due to inability to pay. Medicaid or Medicare participants must bring their insurance card to cover the cost. Parents are also asked to bring their child's vaccination records.
This year, the CDC recommends everyone older than 6 months get the flu vaccine. This year's flu vaccine will protect against both the seasonal flu and the H1N1 virus. Medical studies show getting the flu vaccine has proven to be very safe and effective in preventing people from catching the flu.
While everyone should get a flu vaccine, vaccination is especially critical for certain groups of people who are at a higher risk of developing flu-related complications. Those groups include:
- Children younger than 5, especially children younger than 2 years old
- Adults 65 and older
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- American Indians and Alaskan Natives, who appeared to be at higher risk of flu complications last flu season
- People who have a weakened immune system or chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease
"Vaccination is also important for health care workers and other people who live with or care for high-risk individuals to keep from spreading flu to people who may be especially susceptible to the virus' effects. This includes anyone who works with babies younger than 6 months of age, who are not eligible for the vaccine themselves," said Dr. Frank Welch, LDH Immunization Medical Director. "This year's vaccine is plentiful and available at many places, including health care providers, pharmacies, some employers and Louisiana's parish health units."
In addition to getting the vaccine, LDH encourages the public to take other preventive actions to stop the spread of the flu:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
- While sick, limit your contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other measures to keep our distance from each other to lessen the spread of flu.
For more information on flu activity by region in Louisiana and to find out how you can avoid being ill, visit http://www.fighttheflula.com/.
The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's blog at http://www.myhealthla.org/, Twitter at http://twitter.com/La_Health_Dept and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LaHealthDept.