Each year, millions of individuals get the flu, with more than 36,000 people dying from this virus. While many are ill for about a week and view the flu as nothing more than an inconvenience, there are many people for whom the flu can be deadly.

This week, Nov. 27 – Dec. 3, is being recognized as National Influenza Vaccination Week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, LDH and its Office of Public Health are urging people to use this week as an opportunity to get the flu shot.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the high-risk groups that should first get the influenza vaccine include:

•         People aged 50 years or older

•         Residents of long-term care facilities

•         People with chronic diseases

•         Children aged 6 months to 5 years

•         Child and adolescents up to 18 years of age who are on aspirin therapy

•         Pregnant women

•         Household members of high-risk people

•         Providers of care to high-risk people in the home setting (e.g. family members, home care or visiting nurses, volunteer workers)

LDH encourages those who meet the high-risk definitions to get their shots as soon as possible.

Flu shots are available by appointment only at parish health units.  There is no charge for those with Medicaid or Medicare coverage and a $10 charge for all others.

For more information or to find a parish health unit in your area, visit www.dhh.louisiana.gov.