BATON ROUGE, La- (LOCAL 33)(FOX 44) – Flu season is ahead of schedule this year. Doctors are asking that everyone get a flu shot ahead of time to avoid getting sick, especially if you’re part of a sensitive group with chronic illnesses.
Normally, flu season peaks during the winter months, starting in early December and later leveling out during February. But this year the season showed up last week, starting with schools.
One private school, The Brighton School, had almost 40 percent of their student population call out with the virus. The school’s leaders decided to shut down for the first week in October to decontaminate and give the students time to recover.
Dr. Gregory Gelpi says outbreaks this early in the year are uncommon but not unheard of.
” In the 29 years I’ve been in practice we’ve only had one flu outbreak in the summertime,” Gelpi said. And that was in 2009 which was the H1N1 virus outbreak. So this is uncharacteristically early.”
Even though the outbreak is ahead of schedule, Gelpi says there are several ways to arm yourself against the virus. The best way to prevent getting sick is to get the flu shot early, but you can also stay hydrated and wash your hands. You should also avoid drinking after other people and sharing foods.
The flu shot takes about two weeks to go into effect, so you should still be cautious and follow the proper steps to avoid illness. But, if you’re unfortunate enough to be infected, Gelpi says to make sure you contact a doctor and stock up on medicines.
“The best way to keep from getting the flu is to get a flu shot. But unfortunately, those students didn’t get the opportunity to get one because we just started flu shots,” Gelpi says.
The flu is a virus and not a bacterial infection, there is no medicine that will kill it, there are only remedies to relieve the symptoms.
Gelpi says the small outbreak we’re seeing now may fizzle out in a few weeks, but to be on the safe side, you should still contact a doctor if you feel sluggish, have a cough, and exhibit cold symptoms.