SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) -Flu season is already underway and Louisiana is still the only state with the highest levels of flu concentration, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Overall this year isn’t as bad as last year but it’s still early," said Dr. Ajit Alexander. The thing with the flu is it’s unpredictable, so it may look okay now but it can definitely get worse. So it’s always better to prepare for the worse."
Dr. Alexander is an emergency and family medicine doctor at Ochsner LSU in Shreveport and says this year’s flu season will last all the way until May.
Flu activity will peak from December to February, and so Dr. Alexander says it’s best for people to go ahead and get their flu shots now before things get worse.
“Thinking that you’re going to get sick from the flu shot is a big misconception,” he said. “That’s not true. It actually helps prevent you from getting sick. You might get like a small flu like illness initially maybe for like 24 hours if anything, but if you actually have the flu that lasts for weeks.”
The flu can become deadly for kids less than six months, pregnant women, people older than 65 and those with medical problems like diabetes, heart disease, and those who smoke.
Dr. Alexander says signs to look out for are a sore throat, headaches, body aches, fevers and stuffiness. Children who have the flu could also show signs of vomiting and diarrhea.
He urges those who have the flu to stay home for an additional 24 hours after their fever breaks to avoid spreading it to others.
The best way to try and prevent the flu is to practice good hand hygiene. Dr. Alexander urges people to constantly wash their hands and avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth too.
The state health department has been offering free one-day clinics for people to get their flu shot. You can view the list with all the locations, dates and times, HERE.