Flu season is just around the corner, and the Louisiana Department of Health urges everyone to go out and get their flu shot. Dr. Frank Welch with LDH says despite what some people may think, getting a flu shot will not give someone the flu, and everyone needs to get vaccinated even if they got the shot last year.
“One of the things that people don’t realize is that you need a flu shot every single year because the flu as a virus changes itself,” Welch said.
In years past, people had an option to get protected from flu in the form of a nasal spray, rather than an injection. But Welch says the nasal vaccine is not be available this year.
“Unfortunately scientists have done the research over the past few years and found that the nasal spray really is not very effective at all,” Welch said.
The flu causes 500 deaths and nearly 3,000 hospitalizations every year in Louisiana. Welch says infants, elderly people, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions are at the greatest risk for complications from the flu. But he says it’s important for everyone to get their flu shot, even if they are not in those high risk groups.
“It’s those healthy people walking around and still going to sporting events, still going to school, still going to the grocery store who are spreading the flu to everyone else,” Welch said.
Welch says people should stay home if they are sick, wash their hands, and cover their cough to avoid spreading the virus.