With flu season starting early, the Louisiana Department of Health is now holding flu vaccination clinics throughout the state. These one-day clinics will allow people to come in and get a flu shot at no cost to the patient. Click here for a list of locations. Last year in Louisiana, there were more than 14,000 hospitalizations, and more than 1,400 deaths attributed to the flu.
“Getting vaccinated not only protects you from the flu, but it also protects those around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness,” said Dr. Frank Welch, immunization director for the Louisiana Department of Health. “A flu shot is your best defense in both reducing your chances of getting the flu and spreading it.”
These vaccination clinics are open to the public, and walk-ups are welcome. Wear short or loose-fitting sleeves and bring your private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare card with you. For those without insurance, there will be no cost.
The Louisiana Department of Health offers these reminders to help keep people from spreading the flu:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If you have cold symptoms or have a fever greater than 100.3, stay away from others until you have not had a fever for 24 hours.
- Call your doctor immediately to see if an antiviral medication is appropriate for you.
- If you are sick, do not visit vulnerable loved ones who may be receiving care in a hospital, nursing home, cancer center or other settings.
- If you are sick, do not kiss babies, pregnant women, grandparents and others who may be at a higher risk of getting sick.
- Cover your cough and sneeze.
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
Flu shot facts
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Louisiana Department of Health recommend a yearly flu shot for everyone over 6 months of age who does not have a complicating condition, such as a prior allergic reaction to the flu shot.
A flu shot is especially crucial for people who may be at higher risk for serious complications. This includes babies and young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions and people 65 years and older.
The flu shot is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, who can pass on antibodies to their babies that will help protect them.
The flu shot starts to offer partial protection immediately but takes about two weeks to offer full protection.
If you can’t make it to one of the special clinics, flu shots are available at parish health units throughout the flu season, local pharmacies, clinics, doctors’ offices and federally qualified (community) health centers. Check flushot.healthmap.org for a flu shot provider near you.
Visit http://www.ldh.la.gov/fighttheflu for more information and resources.