LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is getting the word out about the importance of flu shots.
Health officials held a news conference at Memorial Family Medicine Center in Lake Charles on Wednesday.
Officials say each year, more than $200,000 Americans are hospitalized because of the flu.
While Louisiana's flu season gets into full swing in January, officials say now is the time to get your flu shot.
"Chances are reduced and we know the vaccine is fairly effective. If you don't get the vaccine, you wind up having the flu. A lot of people miss school … the children or work. Also, there are some people that are at higher risk of complications of the flu and especially on the elderly, can go to their own primary care provider, to get the vaccine, as well as the health units, the local health units, have them available as well," said B.J. Foch, with the Office of Public Health.
The elderly and children are considered the most vulnerable to the flu.
It's estimated some 36,000 people in the U.S. die from flu-related causes each year.