Flu spreading in Louisiana at one of the nation's fastest rates

Flu season started early this year and appears to be peaking around Christmas.

NEW ORLEANS -- Flu season is peaking early, and Louisiana is one of the states getting hit the hardest.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—ten states are experiencing high flu-like activity,  including Louisiana.  

Dr. Fred Lopez with Louisiana State University says the number of people who are getting sick this year likely has to do with the predominant strain of the flu -- H3N2.

“We know when that strain is the predominant strain, we know that it’s going to be a more severe season,” Lopez said. “(People) should be worried. They should be worried every year during flu season.”

The CDC estimates that influenza has resulted in up to 710,000 hospitalizations and 56,000 deaths every year since 2010. Experts say the vaccine may only be between 10-to-32 percent effective, but you should still get it.

“Something is better than nothing for sure,” said Pharmacist Michele Vanderbook. “You just don’t want to feel so bad especially with the holidays, people have parties to go to, spend time with family.”

And even if it isn’t very effective, the flu shot will offer some protection in instances where people are more open to the disease.

“The more people are together in close contact, the more likely the flu will be transmitted,” Lopez said. “They’re congregating with their families over festivities over the holiday season, they may be traveling with individuals who may be sick.”

© 2018 WWL-TV


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