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Four-strain flu shot available for first time

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BATON ROUGE - For the first time, a four-strain flu shot is available.

Doctors suggest getting the flu shot as soon as possible with flu season nearly here in October. Health professionals say the flu virus is very contagious.

"Just by being in the room with somebody who has sneezed, or if somebody that has the flu coughs or sneezes in their hand and you touch their hand or you touch an object that the person that's infected with the flu touched, you can get the flu," said Dr. Stephanie Awad.

The flu hospitalizes around 200,000 people each year and is the cause of around 36,000 deaths according to Dr. Marilyn Reynaud of the Office of Public Health. Catching the flu virus can lead to spending a week in the hospital.

"You could get really high fevers. You could get nausea, vomiting, coughing, really bad cold symptoms, fever, chills, body aches," said Dr. Awad.

Around 135 million flu vaccinations were made this year, including around 30 million four-strain vaccinations.

"This will give added protection for those individuals that may be more susceptible to one of the other B viruses," said Dr. Reynaud.

Flu season begins in October, and doctors hope to see more people taking advantage of flu shots.

"Every year we seem to be seeing more people. There are more avenues for people to get the flu vaccinations like pharmacists and their physicians, so yes we do expect and do want more people to get the flu vaccination," said Dr. Reynaud.


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