Louisiana Doctors Warn Of Busy Flu Season – Here’s What To Expect

Flu cases are rising across Louisiana, according to data from the Louisiana Department of Health and Human Services, and medics across the country are expecting a much worse flu season than last year.

The number of positive cases so far this month, according to LDH data, surpasses the number of cases where the flu season has started in recent years. The last serious start of a flu season was in the 2019-2020 season, and this year’s season starts with about 5 percent more positive cases than this year.

Photo credit: Louisiana Department of Health and Human Services

Photo credit: Louisiana Department of Health and Human Services

This puts Louisiana in a position to have a moderate, if not worse, flu season. dr Tina Stefanski, Louisiana Region 4 medical director, says Louisiana should prepare.

After studying Australia’s flu season, Dr. Region 4 medical director Tina Stefanski said doctors are expecting an even busier flu season and we should all be prepared. Although the flu has been less affected due to the extra precautions taken during the pandemic, the same measures should still be taken.

“Wear a face mask, be a little more careful when you’re out and about, wash your hands, keep your hands away from your face, these are still very good preventive measures,” says Dr. Stefanski.

This prediction appears to be consistent with what national medical experts are saying.

Statewide, flu positivity in clinical labs was 3.3% last week, but exceeded 10% in the Southeast. And in the South Central region it was 5%. Flu hospitalizations are on the rise. And they’re rising in the same places that flu positivity and ILIs are rising [influenza-like illnesses] go to.

All the pieces kind of add up and you get a consistent picture in the Southeast and maybe South Central and it’s probably spreading.

What can you do to prepare?

All medical experts point to the primary preventive measure you can take every flu season: get vaccinated.

The CDC also recommends that “everyone as young as 6 months of age get a flu vaccine, ideally by the end of October,” according to its website. “There are also prescription antiviral flu drugs that can be used to treat flu; these must be started as early as possible.”

It’s also recommended that you pay attention to your symptoms, especially if you’re feeling any of the following:

  • Fever
  • body aches
  • Muscle cramp
  • Dry cough
  • fatigue

These symptoms are usually indicative of the flu and it is recommended that you get a flu test if you notice any of them.

LDH also recommends the following preventive measures.

  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick, stay at home and limit contact with others as much as possible so as not to infect 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 aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. This is how germs spread.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and items that may be contaminated with influenza viruses.
  • Continue the social distancing and masking practices you have put in place to protect against COVID-19.

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