Flu season is here, and the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) will be holding a community flu vaccination clinic in Lafayette on Wednesday, October 27 from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Lafayette Parish Health Unit on Willow Street. LDH says the flu shot is more important than ever this year, as COVID-19 remains widespread across the state.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that it is safe, effective and efficient for people to get their flu shots at the same time as they are receiving their COVID-19 vaccination or booster doses. Currently, the CDC reports that 46% of Louisianans are fully vaccinated against COVID and 52%, more than 2.4 million people, have taken at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.
Community flu and COVID clinics are open to the public, and walk-ups are welcome. Wear short or loose-fitting sleeves and, if you have it, bring your private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare card. If you are unable to attend this event, the flu shot is currently widely available at doctor's offices, pharmacies and parish health units.
Stop the spread
The everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of flu are the same as those that help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If you are sick, stay home and limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with viruses that cause flu.
Flu shot facts
CDC and LDH recommend a yearly flu shot for everyone over 6 months of age who does not have a complicating condition, such as a prior allergic reaction to the flu shot.
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.
Most seasonal flu activity occurs between October and May, and typically peaks between December and February.
Last year in Louisiana, the flu was associated with more than 15,000 hospitalizations, more than 1,600 deaths and 5 pediatric deaths all due to the flu.
Influenza is especially serious in long-term care facilities (nursing homes). Severe and even fatal illness can be introduced by healthcare workers, visitors and newly admitted residents.
The flu has a tremendous impact on school attendance and on the families of school children.
An estimated 28% of school-aged children get influenza each year.
For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm for weekly FluView updates from the CDC. For Louisiana-specific information, visit the LDH Fight the Flu LA webpage for information, resources, weekly flu activity reports and more.
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