Unusual flu season strikes in Louisiana; second peak to come

Updated: Jan. 5, 2020 at 8:02 PM CST
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(WAFB) - Medical experts say this flu season is an unusual one.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates so far this season at least 6.4 million people have had the flu.

As we approach the second peak of flu season it’s important to take extra precaution to avoid the illness.

Dr. Michelle Flechas is a pediatrician at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health Pediatrics at Perkins.

She said her team has been seeing many cases of Influenza B.

“Our peak flu so far has been around Thanksgiving which is very, very early," said Dr. Flechas. “Flu is typically supposed to hit January and February so we’re not out of the woods.”

The CDC estimates there have been 2,900 deaths from the flu this season.

Data shows Louisiana is one of the nation’s top 34 states with high flu activity.

There’s no one reason to pinpoint for those high numbers. Germs travel fast especially when sick people are in the same space.

“It could be travel, you know. You go to the airport, you get on the plane, you go on vacation, you go to Disney World, you get exposed to people all over the world and the flu that’s currently hitting other parts of the world [and] all of a sudden [it] gets brought back home," said Dr. Flechas.

If you start noticing symptoms like high fever, headaches, and severe body aches with a dry cough it’s time to see a doctor.

“If you’re having chest pain, if you’re having any respiratory distress then absolutely go," said Dr. Flechas. "Because you never know, we might tell you it’s just the flu, and you will need bed rest and fluids. Or we may say, ‘Wow you’ve got a secondary infection. There’s some bronchitis, some pneumonia.' So I always would rather be safe and have you seen.”

As children head back to school, remind them to be consistent about washing their hands, wiping down commonly shared items like door handles and school supplies, and if they’re sick make sure they stay home so they can rest.

“Staying home is the biggest thing we can do to prevent illness. So if you have a fever you need to stay home until you’re fever free for 24 hours,” explained Dr. Flechas.

That fever point can vary from person to person so when you start feeling flu-like symptoms start taking your temperature and monitor it throughout the next day.

To learn more about flu symptoms, click HERE.

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