Flu cases rise nationwide and in Louisiana - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Flu cases rise nationwide and in Louisiana

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

The lab at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital is one of the places they do testing to identify cases of the flu in the area. 

Registered nurse Bridget Boudreaux is in charge of preventing infection for the Lake Charles Memorial Health Systems. She said the numbers grow from week-to-week nationally and in Louisiana.

"We're seeing an exponential increase week by week in the number of flu cases being reported and influenza like illness, basically those patients that come in and they're seen with the symptoms of the flu but they may not necessarily be tested to see if they're positive for one of the flu strains," she said.

Boudreaux said the flu season has come early this year.

"Typically our season doesn't kick off or spike until after the holidays, the Christmas New Year holidays. We've actually seen it as early as mid November, where the numbers are really going up, more and more each week. We have the earliest onset of our flu season since the 2003 season," said Boudreaux.

So, what does it mean for the public?

First of all, Boudreaux said it's never too late to get a flu shot.

"The number one defense against that (the flu) is to get your vaccine. The flu season typically goes through March, April. Just to keep in mind, even when you receive the vaccine, it takes a couple of weeks for it to become effective by the body having  time to build antibodies to fight off the flu," she said.

Boudreaux said a healthy lifestyle, along with proper hygiene, can help prevent people from getting sick.

"Hand washing, proper cough etiquette, covering your cough, washing your hands each time, staying away from other people that have flu like symptoms. If you are sick yourself, please stay home," said Boudreaux.

Symptoms of the flu may include fever, body aches, chills, headache and upper respiratory symptoms. And it usually lasts seven to 10 days.

To check out the state numbers click here.  The CDC provides national numbers, and information on how to fight the flu.

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