Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne, Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) Secretary Kathy H. Kliebert, and LDH Public Health Assistant Secretary J.T. Lane received their annual flu shots at the East Baton Rouge Parish Health Unit today. The annual flu shot event is part of the State's efforts to remind members of the public about the importance of getting a flu shot or nasal spray to protect against the flu. Information on where to get vaccinated against the flue is available at www.fighttheflu.la.gov.  

"It's important every flu season to not only get vaccinated but to encourage friends and family to do the same," said LDH Secretary Kliebert. It is estimated that between 450,000 and 900,000 Louisiana residents become infected with influenza each year.  Louisiana is currently one of six states reporting widespread influenza activity. Physicians should not wait for a positive test to prescribe antiviral medications for treatment and prevention of influenza for individuals who are considered at high risk such as older adults or individuals with existing respiratory illnesses, as a complement to vaccination.

According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 2014-2015 flu season shows that flu activity is low across the United States, but there are signs that activity has increased - particularly in Louisiana. Flu activity is expected to increase further in the coming weeks. Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne recalls, "This year, I got the flu before I could get the shot. Big mistake. Get your flu shot now!"

The CDC established National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), December 7-13, 2014, to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond.

In addition to getting vaccinated, you can take every day preventative actions like washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs and staying away from sick people. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others.

LDH and the CDC recommend an annual flu vaccine for every 6 months or age and older. There are documented benefits from the flu vaccination including - reductions in flu illnesses, related doctors; visits and missed work or school. Vaccination also prevents flu-related hospitalizations and death.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals 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 www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow DHH's Twitter account and Facebook.