BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - Doctors say being in close quarters with others at one of the many parades this week could help you catch a very undesirable throw.
Dr. Parham Jabari, the assistant secretary for the Louisiana Office of Public Health, spoke Monday at a Press Club of Baton Rouge meeting. He said this is the highest level of infection recorded in about eight years since the H1N1 outbreak in 2010, and with a less effective vaccine, rates of infection will remain at the peak into the early spring.
Even at the lower rate of effectiveness, the vaccine and drugs such as Tamaflu do help reduce the number of days of illness, and in turn may help limit the spread of infection.
On Jan. 31, the free flu shot push was highly successful, with 2,800 people taking advantage of the no-cost vaccination at public health units around the state. Unfortunately, he said patients are most contagious during the earliest stages of illness, and the best way to prevent more spreading is to isolate yourself - even in your home - until you no longer have a fever without drugs like Tylenol or Advil.
"When you are most infectious could be in those very, very first days of your illness when you're starting to feel really ill," Jabari said. "You're at work and you're like thinking, 'Ohhh man I, just got hit by a Mack truck. I'm getting the high fevers. I have chills. I better go home.' At that point you are highly infectious."
The no-cost flu shot initiative continues through at Feb. 12, and may be extended based on supply. Dr. Jabari suggests calling ahead to prevent long wait times at local public health units.