Louisiana Department of Health Urges the Public to Get Vaccinated As Flu Cases Dramatically Increase in the State

Share This:

Published November 17, 2022

Louisiana Department of Health Urges the Public to Get Vaccinated As Flu Cases Dramatically Increase in the State

Louisiana – The Louisiana Department of Health reported on November 16, 2022, that while flu cases and hospitalizations in the Southeast continue to climb, the LDH encourages the public to be vaccinated to ensure protection throughout peak flu season and the impending holidays.

As of November 14, influenza activity in Louisiana had increased considerably and had already reached its highest point in the previous five years. According to data from the LDH’s Office of Public Health’s Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet), 10.49% of patient visits were related to influenza-like illness. This is more than double the national average of 5.5%.

Flu hospitalizations in the United States have reached a decade high. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States expects at least 2.8 million flu infections, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 1,300 deaths so far this season.

The following are flu symptoms:

  • Sudden onset of body aches,
  • Fever greater than 100.3, and
  • Cough and/or sore throat

For the best flu protection, the CDC recommends being vaccinated as soon as possible. In Louisiana, flu season normally begins in October and peaks between the Winter holidays and Mardi Gras.

With the holidays rapidly approaching, LDH advises residents to keep their COVID-19 and flu vaccinations up to date. Visit vaccinations.gov to find COVID-19 and flu vaccines near you.

A yearly flu vaccine, according to State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter, is the first and most crucial step in defending against flu viruses. Washing your hands frequently and avoiding contact with others when sick can also help prevent virus transmission.

“Everyone 6 months of age and older should get the flu shot,” Dr. Kanter said. “The vaccine is especially important for young children. Since 2004-2005, flu-related deaths in children have ranged from 37 deaths to 199 deaths each year in the U.S., and approximately 80% of pediatric flu deaths occurred in children who did not get a flu shot.”

There have already been five pediatric flu deaths in the United States this year.

The flu has a significant impact on school attendance and school-age children’s families:

  • 28% of school-aged children get the flu each year
  • For every 100 children, flu accounts for 63 missed school days a year
  • Of every 100 children who get the flu, 25 family members will come down with the flu within three days

Severe consequences are most common in the elderly, pregnant women, people with chronic illnesses, children under the age of two, and children with asthma and diabetes. Pneumonia, dehydration, worsening of long-term medical conditions such as heart disease or asthma, brain dysfunction, sinus problems, and ear infections are among the risks.

Dr. Kanter said that getting both your flu vaccination and your COVID-19 booster shot at the same time is both safe and convenient. There is no need to wait between the two immunizations.