Baton Rouge — Gov. John Bel Edwards, Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Dr. Courtney Phillips and Department of Children and Family Services Secretary Marketa Walters got their annual flu shots on Wednesday at Our Lady of the Lake’s North Baton Rouge Clinic.
As flu season begins in Louisiana amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Governor and LDH are urging Louisianans to protect themselves against the flu with an annual flu vaccination. While it will not prevent COVID-19, a flu vaccination will help protect you against potentially getting both the flu and COVID which can greatly impact your health and ability to recover.
“It’s a good idea to get a flu shot every year, but right now, with the ongoing COVID pandemic, getting your flu shot is even more important. We cannot afford to have a serious flu season on top of the pandemic because we will risk overrunning the ability of our hospitals to deliver health care,” Gov. Edwards said. “I encourage all Louisianans who can to get their flu shot sooner rather than later. It is quick and readily available all across Louisiana.”
Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent serious flu complications that can result in hospitalization and even death.
The flu causes approximately 500 deaths and nearly 3,000 hospitalizations each year in Louisiana. However, in Louisiana in 2019, there were more than 15,000 hospitalizations and more than 1,600 deaths from the flu. Of those more than 1,600 deaths, five were pediatric deaths.
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get the flu shot by the end of this month. That is because it can take some time for your body to recognize and respond to the vaccine.
Getting a flu shot has never been easier. You can get your flu shot at your local pharmacy or doctor’s office. Starting in the coming days, the Office of Public Health will be holding its annual flu vaccination drives across the state. These will be no cost.
“I get my annual flu shot not only to protect myself but also others, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness,” said Dr. Phillips. “Let’s be good neighbors and roll up our sleeves, Louisiana.”
The good news is that the everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of the flu are the same as those that we’ve been asking you to take to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
If you are sick, stay home and limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with viruses that cause flu
Flu shot facts
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and LDH recommend a yearly flu shot for everyone over 6 months of age who does not have a complicating condition, such as a prior allergic reaction to the flu shot.
A flu shot is especially crucial for people who may be at higher risk for serious complications. This includes babies and young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions and people 65 years and older.
The flu shot is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, who can pass on antibodies to their babies that will help protect them.
Visit www.ldh.la.gov/fighttheflu for more information and resources, including a vaccine finder to locate vaccines near you.
While receiving your flu shot, inquire about other vaccinations that you may need.