NEW ORLEANS, LA - The City of New Orleans Health Department (NOHD) urges New Orleans residents to get the seasonal flu vaccine and to take proper precautions to limit their risk of exposure to seasonal flu, an infection of the respiratory tract caused by the influenza virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported widespread influenza activity in Louisiana and across the nation this year. Compared with most other viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold, influenza infection often causes more severe symptoms.
“The number of people with flu is expected to increase as the season progresses, so we must do all we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones.” said New Orleans Health Commissioner Dr. Karen DeSalvo. “It is very important for everyone to get vaccinated.”
Residents are urged to watch for symptoms of the flu, such as headache, fever, a severe cough, runny nose or body aches. Contact your primary care physician or a local hospital immediately if symptoms appear.
Residents are urged to take the following preventive steps for the flu:
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
If you are sick with flu–like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, without the use of fever-reducing medicine, except to get medical care or for other necessities.
Get re-vaccinated EVERY YEAR because flu viruses change yearly.
NOHD recommends that residents receive vaccinations from their primary care physician or other regular health care provider. For those without a health care provider, there also are other convenient, affordable opportunities to get a flu shot, including retail pharmacies and clinics.
Residents can find flu clinics in their area through the Health Department's website at http://new.nola.gov/health-department/ . A list of clinics is also available at www.gnocommunity.org.