Widespread outbreaks of influenza are accompanying cold temperatures throughout Louisiana.

The state is among those with the highest confirmed cases of the flu, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“In more severe seasons, the flu causes approximately 700 deaths and nearly 8,000 hospitalizations each year,” said Dr. Rebekah Gee, Louisiana Department of Health Secretary in a news release. “We are already on track to meet and possibly exceed these statistics for the current flu season.”

The Louisiana Department of Health offers these reminders to help keep people from spreading the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you have cold symptoms or have fever greater than 100.3, stay away from others until you have not had a fever for 24 hours.
  • Call your doctor immediately to see if an antiviral medication is appropriate for you.
  • If you are sick, do not visit vulnerable loved ones who may be receiving care in a hospital, nursing home, cancer center or other setting.
  • If you are sick, do not kiss babies, pregnant women, grandparents, and others who may be at a higher risk of getting sick.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

And it's not too late for a flu shot.

“Although a flu shot is never 100 percent effective, a vaccination is the best way to prevent getting sick from the flu and getting serious flu complications,” said Dr. Jimmy Guidry, state health officer for LDH.

Visit www.ldh.la.gov/fighttheflu for more information and resources.