Mardi Gras crowds and the flu; learn how to protect yourself

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) CEO Nurse Practitioner, Mark Landry of MinuteMed Walk In Clinic & Urgent Care in Lafayette along Ambassador Caffery Parkway says the current strain of flu can be deceptive and that helps to contribute to the spreading of the flu virus.

“The symptoms haven’t been as severe just headaches, fever, nausea and body aches. Not as severe so people are getting out. They’re trying to go to work and they’re sending their kids to school and not knowing  spreading the virus like crazy,” Landry said.

Landry believes it’s only going to get worse as people mingle for Mardi Gras.  “If you can stay away from people who are coughing.  Cover your mouth. I don’t know if people know but a cough can travel six or seven feet and that virus will stay alive on a surface from a few hours to a few days.”

The Centers for Disease Control estimates so far this season there have been at least 26 million flu illnesses nationwide, 250,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths from flu.

Ji Sonnier of Hollier’s Family Pharmacy in Breaux Bridge says recently he’s back to filling more prescriptions for flu treatment.

“I’ve seen a significant number of or an increase in prescriptions for Tamiflu and also Xofluz which is a different and new drug with a once a day dose for the flu virus,” Sonnier noted.

Sonnier says the flu shot helps to keep the symptoms of the virus from getting worse. “With the flu vaccine and if people do get the flu they have less severe symptoms and lesser of a duration of symptoms.”

Lafayette General Health’s Director of Communications Patricia Thompson released a statement:

“Consistent with spikes in flu that health officials have reported statewide throughout the flu season, Lafayette General Health has experienced an increase in flu diagnoses across our health system over the last four weeks. Recently, we have seen a transition to H1N1 (flu A) from flu B. With six weeks left of flu season, we encourage anyone who hasn’t yet gotten the flu vaccine to get it now, and we remind everyone to wash your hands frequently, sneeze or cough into your elbow instead of your hands, and to stay home if you are sick.”

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