Influenza Virus Troubles Continue Statewide

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Influenza Virus Troubles Continue Statewide

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Flu season is still wreaking havoc across Louisiana. The influenza virus’ activity is twice as high this time of year than it has been in prior years.

Although the middle of February regularly marks the downfall of flu cases, activity is still very much high.

“It is always easier to prevent an illness than it is to deal with the symptoms the illness may cause,” said second year pharmacy student Ellen Cook.

Cook and her fellow pharmacy classmates put on a free flu clinic late last year.

While happy with the turnout of the event, she didn’t expect the season to be so severe.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that every year the influenza virus results in between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths since 2010.

A number, many like Cook, believe to be preventable with the right precautions put in place.

According to experts from the CDC, Louisiana is on track for close to over 1,000 flu related deaths this year.

“To avoid getting the flu in the future, the easiest thing is to make sure you wash your hands often with soap and water,” a good rinse and wash, according to Cook, is all it takes to greatly diminish your chances of contracting the flu.

Unfortunately, many people don’t see the need in getting a flu shot this late in the season.

Others are skeptical of its effectiveness, since the vaccines are usually made months in advance of the actual season.

This year’s virus has proved to be resilient and troublesome for doctors to handle. Still, some students believe in the effectiveness of the vaccine.

Junior nursing student Ikea Thomas said, “It reduces the severity of the illness itself and lessens the amount of times you have the illness.”

“It is important to note that the flu vaccines are inactive viruses.

They cannot give you the flu. As an immunization certified pharmacy student, I highly recommend the vaccine for everyone eligible.”

The flu shot can prepare one’s body against the flu if it doesn’t outright prevent the influenza virus.

Many parishes are continuing to give out flu shots even after the peak of the season.

The Louisiana Department of Health announced that they are officially extending its free flu shots, and they will be available while supplies last.