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LDH offers free flu shots - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

LDH offers free flu shots

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Courtesy of MGN Online Courtesy of MGN Online

The Louisiana Department of Health is offering flu vaccines at no cost at more than 55 Parish Health Units across the state next week.

The free shots will be offered on Wednesday, January 31, 2018, from 1 – 4:30 p.m. The vaccine is available to anyone who has not received a vaccine this flu season. 

“Louisiana is experiencing a severe flu season and the flu strain we are seeing now is one that typically causes more severe illness, and results in higher hospitalization rates and deaths,” said Dr. Frank Welch, state immunization medical director. “In more severe seasons, the flu causes approximately 700 deaths and nearly 8,000 hospitalizations each year in Louisiana. We are already on track to meet and possibly exceed these statistics for the 2017/18 flu season.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Louisiana Department of Health recommend a yearly flu shot for everyone over six months of age who does not have a complicating condition, such as a prior allergic reaction to the flu shot. 

Community flu clinics that are scheduled for next Wednesday are open to the public, and walk-ups are welcome. Wear short or loose-fitting sleeves and bring your private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare card if you have one. 

To find the clinic nearest you where the shots will be available, click here

Flu activity in Louisiana continues to be high throughout the state. The Office of Public Health monitors patients with flu-like symptoms using a health care provider surveillance system. In a typical flu season, the system reports about five percent of people seeking care at doctor’s offices, clinic and hospitals have flu-like symptoms. Currently this year, the number is more than 10 percent.

A flu shot is especially crucial for people who may be at higher risk for serious complications. This includes babies and young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions and people 65 years and older. 

The flu shot is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, who can pass on antibodies to their babies that will help protect them.

The flu shot starts to offer partial protection immediately but takes about two weeks to offer full protection.

For more information about the flu, click here

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