BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The latest data from the CDC shows Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina have some most active and most widespread flu activity in the nation.
At Baton Rouge General Hospital, staff says they have noticed the number of flu cases are up from last year. "About 50 percent of patients coming in with some type of upper respiratory cough, runny nose, sore throat has the flu," said nurse practitioner, Melissa Carroll.
Unfortunately experts say if you come down with the flu, you are contagious before you show any symptoms. That means you could be spreading the virus long before you start running a fever. Carroll says that's why good hygiene is vital this time of year. She says washing your hands and covering your mouth when you cough are some of the best defenses against the flu.
If you don't feel well, experts say just stay home to avoid spreading the flu or any other virus to your family or coworkers. Also, it's not too late to get a flu shot. "Flu typically goes through March, so at any time if you want to come in and get a flu shot, you can get a flu shot," said Carroll.
Unfortunately, the flu can be deadly. Doctors explain that the young and the old are especially at risk for serious complications from the flu. The CDC says worldwide, flu deaths are spiking. The agency estimates that anywhere from 291,000 and 646,000 people worldwide die from seasonal influenza-related respiratory illnesses each year.
More information on fighting the flu can be found here.