Doctors say Louisiana has significant increases in flu cases - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Doctors say Louisiana has significant increases in flu cases

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CADDO-BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) -

There have already been confirmed cases of influenza in Shreveport, and doctors say the worst is yet to come.

"I know the CDC has reported that there are 5 deaths in Texas so far. Most of the influenza activity so far this year has been a type A influenza, the H1N1 influenza that emerged in 2009 as the pandemic strain" Joseph Bocchini, with University Health, says. Formerly known as Swine Flu, H1N1 is sweeping through the Ark-La-Tex, and the country.

"Louisiana is one of the states reporting significant increases in influenza activity" Bocchini says. Influenza is to blame for multiple deaths every year and significant numbers of hospitalizations. "People don't realize how sick the flu can make you; it really does make you feel like you are being run over by a bus" Martha Whyte, Regional Administrator Office of Public Health, says.

This year, doctors are shocked by who it is hitting the hardest. "Healthy individuals, male and female, are at increased risk at younger age for complications" Bocchini says.

Doctors want to reinforce what most of you have heard, but maybe not acted on: "if you haven't gotten your flu shot, it's time to get it, it's important," Whyte says.

Bocchini  agrees: "get an influenza vaccine, it's the best way we have now to protect from influenza."

"A lot of young and healthy people think, oh I'll be fine, I don't need that shot, it's really important this year especially, every year but we know this year it is a risk" Whyte says.

Getting a flu shot is especially important for pregnant women. Once they get a shot, some of those antibodies will transfer over into the new born. Babies under the age of 6 months cannot get the shot.

"When you get your vaccine, you're not just protecting you; you're protecting everyone that's around you" Whyte says.

Doctors say to wash your hands and if you are feeling sick, stay home. "You want to avoid going out when you are sick so that you don't spread the infection" Bocchini says.

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