Rainy weather could help spread flu

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Over the past week we've seen one thing: rain, rain and more rain. In many areas flooding has caused school cancellations, and forced people indoors for days.  While there's nothing wrong with a little quality time, in the middle of a flu epidemic it's another story.

"It's not the wetness of it or the coldness of it, but it's the fact that it forces people together and it increases the transmission," said Ochsner family practice physician Dr. Chad Braden.

As flu activity continues throughout Louisiana, the time spent indoors cooped up during the rain means there's a higher chance of flu and cold germs spreading.

"If you are going to be cooped up with people that have the flu, distance yourself. So, five feet or so," said Braden. "Hand washing is critical. Don't share glasses; don't share tissues."

The workplace is another area where transmission can be common as workers share computers, phones and more.

"While you're at work, if you're there and you don't have all those classic flu symptoms, but you're sick, make sure that you are washing your hands after you shake people's hands, don't cough in people's faces," said Braden.

More importantly, doctors say when you spike a fever along with body aches and a cough, it's time to stay home from work and limit your contact with others.

"Once your fever goes away, after about 24 hours it's okay to go back to work. You are less contagious," said Braden.

According to the CDC, here have been 20 flu-related deaths of people 18 years old and under so far in the flu season.

Doctors say, if you have a condition that already weakens your immune system like asthma or chemotherapy, get checked out immediately if you have any flu symptoms.

Braden says you should go to the emergency room, if you have flu symptoms that include shortness of breath, dizziness, light headedness or confusion.

These are signs of that the flu could be life threatening.

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