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Louisiana Pushing Flu Prevention After Last Year’s Influenza Spike

LAFAYETTE – It’s that time of year.

Next Friday marks the official start of winter, And with winter, comes the flu…

According to the Louisiana department of health, last flu season there were about 15,000 hospitalizations from the flu and even 1,600 deaths.

“Last year we had a very severe, very long flu season,” explains Dr. Tina Stefanski, the head of the Office of Public Health, Acadiana.

But while the vaccine inst a perfect solution, it’s proven that it helps.

“What we did see is it reduced the length of illness – length of the time of the illness – and the severity,” says Dr. Stefanski.

That’s why the flu shot is important to get sooner, rather than later. Which is why the state holds clinics like Vaccination Day, where people can get a flu shot for free, regardless if they have insurance or not.

“The benefit will be fewer cases of the flu circulating this season, fewer hospitalizations, death; just less overall morbidity,” explains Stefanski, “So it’s in our interest. We want to protect the community.”

Getting the flu vaccine is the easiest way to prevent getting or spreading the virus. The shot is also quick, easy, and relatively painless.

According to Dr. Stefanski, it takes about two weeks for the shot to kick in.

“So looking ahead to Christmas, New Years, when people are in close quarter, sharing lots of things including germs; this is the time to be vaccinated so that you’re body can develop those antibodies and you’ll be protected around holiday season,” says Stefanski.

And even though children and the elderly are most at risk, everyone should take caution this time of year.

Continues Dr. Stefanski, “People kinda get a little lax about it because the flu is so common. But it is deadly. So it’s really important that people realize that.”