NEW ORLEANS – The flu season is officially here and the Center for Disease Control is urging people to get their flu shots after a devastating year.
The agency reports 80,000 people died from the Flu last winter, the worst flu season in 40 years. In recent years, deaths from the virus have often ranged from 12,000 to as high as 56,000.
Doctors say they’re already seeing earlier cases of the flu this year, including some cases in the Shreveport area as early as August.
The LSU Health Center is hosting their Flu Fair where workers, nurses and students can get their flu shot. The goal: prevent the virus from spending.
“It’s not like catching a cold. The flu is something where initially you feel like you were hit by a truck,” LSU Health Community & Population Med. Chief Benjamin Springgate said. “Get the flu shot and prevent this.”
Experts say the flu can cause 36 million illnesses and can cause 700,000 people to go to the hospital each year. The United States experienced a bad season last winter, driven by a particularly severe strain of the virus that led to more hospitalizations and deaths, especially among children and elderly.
Common misconceptions about the flu shot
Here are some common misconceptions about the flu and the flu shot:
Can a flu vaccine give me the flu?
No, flu vaccines cannot cause the flu illness. Flu vaccines are made with a flu virus that has been "inactivated" (killed) and is not infectious.
"The flu shot can lead to some soreness where you have the injection. The flu shot can not give you the flu," Springgate said.
Do I really need a flu vaccine every year?
Yes. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for just about everyone six months or older, even when the viruses the vaccine protects against have not changed from the previous season.
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