The Louisiana Department of Health reminds state residents to get their annual flu shot if they have not done so already. An annual flu vaccine is recommended for everyone older than six months who does not have a complicating condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Flu activity has been low so far this year in Louisiana, but it usually increases and peaks between December and February, according to the CDC. Because the flu shot takes two weeks to offer full protection, now is the perfect time to get your shot before flu activity increases.
“We urge people to get a flu vaccine now as the shot is the most effective way to protect yourself from the flu,” said Dr. Frank Welch, immunization medical director for the Louisiana Department of Health. “Recognizing that the flu can easily spread in a school, the workplace and any location where people congregate, the vaccine is the easiest and best way to protect yourself and others from a virus that can be deadly.”
The most recent Influenza Surveillance Report published by the Office of Public Health can be found here.
Getting a flu shot is crucial for some people. This includes babies and young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions or people 65 years and older. People in each of these groups may be at higher risk for serious flu complications.
The flu shot protects individuals from getting the flu, and it also keeps people from spreading it to others who are more vulnerable. The vaccine is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, who can pass on antibodies to their babies that will help protect them.
Flu shots are now available at Parish Health Units, local pharmacies, clinics, doctor’s offices and federally qualified (community) health centers. Check flushot.healthmap.org for a flu shot provider near you.
Additionally, you can help stop the spread of the flu virus by developing some healthy everyday habits.
- Cough and sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you are sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone and limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from spreading the flu.
If you do get sick with the flu, contact your doctor to see if you should take an antiviral medication.
Visit fighttheflu.la.gov for more information and resources.
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 residents. To learn more about LDH, visit www.ldh.la.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's Twitter account and Facebook.