LDH: Aggressive flu season still not over

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The Louisiana Department of Health says Louisiana continues to rank among the highest rates of influenza cases in the country.

Because of this, health officials urge people to get the flu shot before they get sick.

According to LDH, a recent study showed 37% of adults in the U.S. still intend not to get a flu shot. The study was conducted by researchers at NORC at the University of Chicago.

Louisiana began seeing increased levels of flu activity in late August and currently, the LDH reports that flu activity is widespread in the state, with almost three times as much activity as the regional baseline.

Dr. Frank Welch, immunization medical director for the Office of Public Health, said reports from clinicians throughout Louisiana suggest only 25% of healthy adults in the state have gotten a flu shot this year.

“This year’s flu season began in October, much sooner than expected. It’s only December now and we’re already close to matching the peak of last year’s flu season, which was one of the worst in years, and the end of flu season is months and months away,” Dr. Welch said. “Protect yourself and your loved ones as you gather for the holidays by getting your flu shot.”

Flu shots are available at any parish health unit throughout flu season at no cost to the patient. Local pharmacies, clinics, doctors’ offices and federally qualified (community) health centers also will offer flu shots throughout the season.

You can click here for a flu shot provider near you. 

LDH says during the 2018-2019 flu season, there were approximately 15,000 to 16,000 hospitalizations and 1,550 deaths in Louisiana.

You can find more information and resources here.

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