The CDC expects flu cases to increase for the next month in parts of the southeast.
A LSUHSC physician said this year’s flu is a severe strain that still has not hit its peak season.
This week’s CDC report places Louisiana at a high level of influenza outbreaks with widespread infections across 37 states. Doctors say its a challenge to stay ahead of the ever-changing and highly contagious virus.
“Influenza a very severe disease. It’s unpredictable in terms of how severe the outbreaks will be,” said Dr. Joseph Bocchini, LSUHSC Chairman of Pediatrics.
The CDC has sites around the country monitoring flu-like symptoms and testing strains in labs.
“So far most of the influenza has been an A-type influenza called H3N2 and that’s important because that’s one of the most severe strains of influenza,” Bocchini said.
Dr. Bocchini says peak season sometimes hits between February and April, but thankfully this year’s vaccine is well-matched to fight this year’s strain.
“If you got vaccinated in October you are fully vaccinated for the influenza season,” Bocchini said.
The vaccine protects about 70-percent of people who get it and makes the case milder if a person does catch it. While people not vaccinated are left vulnerable.
The CDC reports eight children have died from the flu this season.
You can still get vaccinated for this year’s flu strain. But it lasts less than a year so you need to get a new one each season.