Decorations and lights aren't the only things that are going up across the state of Louisiana. Cases of the flu are also on the rise as we sit on the doorstep of yet another flu season. This year officials with Louisana's Department of Health hope to get a jump start on the sometimes deadly disease by offering free flu shots.

The free flu shots will be available at Parish Health Units across the state. The shots will be administered on Thursday, December 13th between the hours of 2:30 PM and 6 PM.

According to the Department of Health, the flu is responsible for about 500 deaths each year in the state. Almost 13,000 Louisiana residents require hospitalization because of the flu.

So, you can see the flu is nothing to be passive about. In fact, health officials hope that you will take advantage of the opportunity to get ahead of this year's flu season by getting your flu shot now.

Getting a flu shot is one way to help prevent the disease or at least lessen it symptoms here are some other suggestions courtesy of the Louisiana Department of Health.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you have cold symptoms or have a fever greater than 100.3, stay away from others until you have not had a fever for 24 hours.
  • Call your doctor immediately to see if an antiviral medication is appropriate for you.
  • If you are sick, do not visit vulnerable loved ones who may be receiving care in a hospital, nursing home, cancer center or other settings.
  • If you are sick, do not kiss babies, pregnant women, grandparents and others who may be at a higher risk of getting sick.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
  • These community flu clinics are open to the public, and walk-ups are welcome. Wear short or loose-fitting sleeves.