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La. seasonal flu widespread

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Posted: Jan 24, 2011 5:34 PM by Rachel Frost
Updated: Jan 24, 2011 5:34 PM
Source: WBRZ and DHH

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Topics: Louisiana, flu, widespread, H1N1, seasonal

BATON ROUGE - The flu season is widespread in Louisiana, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Studies show almost one in every five visits to the doctor are flu related.

Dr. Frank Welch, Department of Health and Hospital Immunization Director, says stopping the spread of flu starts with immunizing children.

"The carrier pool of influenza tends to be school aged children because they don't get that sick. So that's why it's really important to have children vaccinated so they're not spreading the flu either," Dr. Welch said.

Health Centers in Schools is an organization that offers free flu vaccines to students in East Baton Rouge Parish Schools. Sue Catchings, CEO of the organization, says immunizing children helps keep adults healthy.

"If the child gets the flu then they're going home and giving it to their parents, and so there you go, you just got the perfect storm," Catchings said.

Catchings says practicing good hygiene, like washing your hands, can also protect you from the flu.

This year's vaccine protects against the seasonal flu and H1N1. Young children, the elderly and women who are pregnant are at higher risk from the flu.

If you catch the flu, doctors recommend staying home at least 24 hours after you have no signs of fever.

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