<b>BATON ROUGE, La.</b> — Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and the Mayor’s Healthy City Initiative, in collaboration with local healthcare partners, are providing citizens with preventive tips and information about the current high incidence rate of the flu in our community.
“I encourage all citizens and visitors in the Capital Region to protect themselves and others from the flu,” Mayor-President Broome said. To protect yourself I stress the importance of getting the flu shot if they haven’t already, by talking with their healthcare provider about preventive measures, and also by following common sense tips like staying home when sick, washing their hands often, and covering coughs and sneezes.”
Flu season is typically from October to May, with peak months during January and February, and causes nearly 3,000 hospitalizations per year in Louisiana. Primary symptoms include fever, chills, muscle aches, sore throats, runny nose, cough and congestion.
Experts say that if a person comes down with the flu, they are contagious before showing symptoms. They are encouraged to stay home to avoid spreading the flu to family or co-workers. If someone in the household has the flu, every other member of the household is encouraged to take precaution and contact their healthcare provider.
According to Suzy Sonnier, Executive Director of the Baton Rouge Health District, all hospital partners in this area are reporting more flu cases this year than in the past. Local hospitals are actively taking precautions to educate employees and the public in order to decrease flu exposure.
“We encourage everyone to use caution and common sense,” said Sonnier "Take care of yourself and if you are not feeling well, seek assistance from your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Be thoughtful and limit unnecessary interactions with others to prevent further spread of the flu."
Mayor-President Broome also encourages all businesses, schools and organizations to promote flu precautions to employees and members, as we all want to ensure our community remains healthy.
“We have more access than ever before to primary care, urgent care and emergency room care if needed,” said Mayor Broome. “By working together as a community and following recommended precautions we can help take care of one another.”
Recommended preventive tips to prevent the spreading of influenza:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze-throw the tissue away after use.
- If you get the flu try to avoid contact with others.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth to avoid the spread of germs.
These actions can help prevent the spread of influenza and other respiratory viruses during cold and flu season.
It is not too late to get the flu shot, even though this year it may not be as effective and people could still be at risk. With the flu shot, even if a person gets the flu, the vaccine helps prevent the severity of the symptoms.
Many pharmacies and doctors' offices have the flu vaccine. The HealthMap Vaccine Finder (www.vaccinefinder.org) can help you locate a flu vaccine provider near you.