Flu season is in full swing, and Louisiana is leading the country in the number of cases nationally. According to doctors at the Mid-City Ochsner urgent care, they’re seeing between five and 15 patients every day for flu and flu-like illnesses.
“We are way ahead. Both in terms of other states in the country, and also in terms of where we were this time in flu seasons past,” Joseph Kanter, Assistant State Health Officer at the Louisiana Department of Health said.
Children are the hardest hit in the state right now, says Dr. Nirav Patel, University Medical Center Chief Medical Officer. “Kids usually start off as the, if you want to say, the ‘canary in the coal mine.’ They’re the ones that are more likely to pick it up, share it among each other at school, daycare, in classroom settings.” According to Patel, that later leads to the spread of the flu among adults. “In my mind, we anticipate seeing the surge in adult cases over the next several weeks.”
The New Orleans Metro Area leads the state in flu activity currently. Symptoms to be on the lookout for include a fever at or above 100 degrees, body aches, congestion, and cough. If you do get sick, here are some steps you can take to prevent the spread of the flu:
- Cover your mouth with your arm or a tissue when you cough
- Wash your hands often
- Keep sick children home until they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours
- If you are sick, stay home if possible
Free flu shots will be available on November 23 at the St. Bernard Recreation Center. If you have insurance, you can get the flu shot for no out-of-pocket cost at most Walgreens pharmacies or medical clinics.
Jenn Bentley is a freelance journalist and editor currently serving as Editor-in-Chief of Big Easy Magazine. Her work has also been featured in publications such as Wander N.O. More, The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News, Examiner.com, and others. Follow her on Twitter: @JennBentley_