Officials say flu shots can keep hospitals from spilling over capacity

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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – In a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Sharon Weston-Broome and a group of doctors urged the public to get a flu shot before the season starts.

Louisiana has not fully recovered from the surge of cases that climbed in May, now public officials question how the flu will effect the curve.

Catherine O’Neal says the public’s best line of defense is to get a flu shot, not only for you or your family, but for the sake of everyone else.

“We need everyone to become vaccinated from this respiratory virus,” O’Neal says. ” Because we have another virus for which we may not have a vaccine for through the winter.”

Right now, Our Lady of the Lake is using 92 ICU beds, which means they’re operating at capacity.

Normally, that number would be for reserved for peak flu season.

Healthcare providers, like O’Neal worry that flu cases could overwhelm the hospital systems. She says vaccinating large population with flu shots keeps ICU beds from filling up with heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.

Doctors have yet to see what could happen if a person with the flu catches COVID or vice versa. Both viruses effect the lungs, but the severity of COVID is still not understood.

Healthcare professionals do know that the flu suppresses the immune system, which is something you’ll need to fight off COVID. Until doctors know the facts, they’re asking the public to treat the flu like an underlying health condition, one you can vaccinate.

Flu season usually lasts from November to March, but officials are warning that this year may not be an ordinary one, so be prepared and get vaccinated.

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