NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Tens of thousands of flu cases have been reported across the country since the season started in October.
Officials with the State Department of Health will give an update Monday on how the virus is impacting Louisiana. With so many people are coming in with flu-like symptoms, hospitals across the country including New Orleans, are dealing with a critical care bed shortage.
That's why medical providers are urging patients to call their primary care physician first to find out if they really need to be seen in
Doctors rs say many times a diagnosis can be made over the phone and a Flu test isn't always necessary.
That also helps prevent the spread of the virus because some people infected with the Flu can go weeks without showing symptoms, meaning they can spread the virus before they even know they have it.
According to the state immunization medical director, the Flu causes approximately 700 deaths and nearly 8,000 hospitalizations in Louisiana during the most severe seasons and the state is already on track to meet and possibly exceed those numbers.
That might be one reason why prescriptions for Tamiflu have been skyrocketing, not just to treat people who are sick, but to keep their loved ones from getting sick as well.
The Louisiana Department of Health says they want you to catch beads and not the Flu this Carnival season. Free Flu shots are being offered across the state until next Monday.