Low flu activity reported in Louisiana

The holidays are a time for family and travel, But there may be a hazard lurking as you head out of state.  No, It isn't heavy traffic or even bad weather.  It is the flu.

"Flu does tend to peak in the winter because we are indoors more and we are closer together," said Department of Health and Hospitals Region 2 Medical Director Dr. Marilyn Reynaud.

Flu season is well underway throughout the nation.  The good news for Louisiana residents is that health officials are seeing very little activity so far.  The bad news is that our neighbors Texas and Mississippi have the highest activity in the nation.

So, as you travel out and return home it is vital to get your flu shot, which doctors say is the best protection against the virus.

"We want people to get that flu vaccine so they can enjoy their family, whether their family is coming to them or their family is coming to them," said Reynaud.

The flu virus can live on surfaces for a long time, sometimes up to two days, and it is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets.

That's why the basics like covering your mouth when you cough and washing your hands frequently are also important.

Finally, remember the flu may seem minor, but complications kill thousands of people each year.

"The flu is not the common cold. The flu is a serious respiratory illness. Yes, most of us may do ok. But there are those of us with certain conditions and at extreme risk for complications," said Reynaud.

Flu season in Louisiana typically peaks around January.  Also, it takes about two weeks for a flu shot to become fully effective.

Weekly updates on nationwide flu activity, as well as helpful tips, can be found here.

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