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Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals | Kathy Kliebert, Secretary

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It’s Time to Fight the Flu LA

DHH Encourages Citizens to Get Vaccinated

Thursday, November 4, 2010  |  Contact: Media & Communications: Phone: 225.342.1532, E-mail: dhhinfo@la.gov

BATON ROUGE - The Department of Health and Hospitals today officially kicked off its annual "Fight the Flu" campaign urging Louisianians in every corner of the state to get a flu vaccine.

Every year, millions of individuals contract the flu, with more than 36,000 people in the U.S. dying from this virus. The vaccine, which this year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending for anyone over 6 months of age, is the best protection against getting the flu. And medical professionals and officials from DHH gathered in every region with local leaders to stress the importance of vaccinations.

"Vaccines are the best preventive measure we have to help fight the spread of this illness, and we encourage everyone to get their seasonal flu shot to help protect not only themselves, but their families and friends as well," said DHH Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein. "And this year, it's easier than ever with one vaccine available for both the seasonal flu and the H1N1 virus. There are no excuses. The flu vaccine has proven to be very safe and effective, and it's time now for all of us to Fight the Flu, Louisiana."

Flu season began last month, but Louisiana's flu activity doesn't peak until January. This gives Louisianians enough time to get vaccinated. While everyone should get a flu vaccine, vaccination is especially critical for certain groups who are at higher risk of developing flu-related complications. Those groups include:

  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
  • Adults 65 and older
  • Pregnant women
  • Also, last flu season, American Indians and Alaskan Natives seemed to be at higher risk of flu complications
  • People who have a weakened immune system or chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease

"Vaccination is also important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk individuals to keep from spreading flu to people who may be especially susceptible to the virus' effects. This includes anyone who works with babies younger than 6 months of age, who are not eligible for the vaccine themselves," said State Health Officer Jimmy Guidry. "This year's vaccine is plentiful and available at many places like health care providers, pharmacies, some employers and Louisiana's parish health units."

DHH also encourages the public to take preventive actions to stop the spread of the flu.

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
  • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about DHH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow DHH's blog at www.myhealthla.org, Twitter at http://twitter.com/La_Health_Dept and search for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals on Facebook.

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