BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - Health officials say December marks the beginning of peak flu season.
The Louisiana Department of Health reminds state residents to get their annual flu shot not, if they have not done so already.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a flu shot for everyone older than six months who does not have a complicating condition.
"We urge people to get a flu vaccine now as the shot is the most effective way to protect yourself from the flu," said Dr. Frank Welch, immunization medical director for the Louisiana Department of Health. "Recognizing that the flu can easily spread in a school, the workplace and any location where people congregate, the vaccine is the easiest and best way to protect yourself and others from a virus that can be deadly."
The CDC says the flu shot takes two weeks to fully protect you, but it also keeps people from spreading the flu to others who are more vulnerable.
State health officials say the vaccine is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. They also offered other healthy habits to stop the spread of the flu:
• Cough and sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue and throw the tissue in the trash.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
• Avoid close contact with sick people.
• If you are sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone and limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from spreading the flu.