Health officials are concerned Louisiana might have a severe flu season. There are more cases of flu here and in Alabama than elsewhere in the country. State health department Dr. Frank Welch says there are more medical visits for the flu than there should be this time of the year.
"One out of every 20 emergency room visits or doctor visits in Louisiana are for flu like symptoms."
Some officials warn this year’s flu vaccine may only be ten percent effective against the “A” strain of the virus. Welch is concerned that this influenza will cause several problems the current vaccine does not immunize against.
"A type tends to be more serious. It makes people sicker, it keeps people sicker longer and it tends to affect those people who are at risk for more serious complications."
Welch says it’s a good time to get the vaccine before the Christmas holidays since it takes a while for the immunization to take effect.
"It starts going to work immediately, but takes about a full week to get protected. I would encourage everyone to get out there and get that flu shot and get protected before the holidays kick in."