If you've managed to dodge the flu this season you just don't know how lucky you are. Louisiana is one of the states that has been most affected by this year's widespread flu pandemic. One in ten Louisiana residents has been or is being treated for the flu and flu-like symptoms.

In an effort to prevent even more outbreaks of the deadly disease Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals have announced that they are making free flu shots available across much of the state. 

The free flu vaccinations will be available today, January 31 at 55 Parish Health Units across the state. The Health Units will administer these vaccines between 1 PM and 4:30 PM.  If you have questions you can call the Department of Hospitals at 1-855-523-2652

 It usually takes one or two days to activate your immune system and you can become fully immune by seven to ten days.   We want to get as many people vaccinated before Mardi Gras.

Dr. Frank Welch made those comments to the Louisiana Radio Network.

It is hoped that by vaccinating even more people ahead of the Mardi Gras influx of tourists and visitors we can stem the tide of the current outbreak of the flu. Those who have experienced the flu this season say the malady comes on rather quickly.

You're fine, an hour later you have full body muscle aches, it often times comes with a fever, your eyes hurt.  Maybe you're a little nauseous.  But it really hits you like a freight train.

You also have many other options for obtaining a flu shot. In many cases with most insurance, the cost of the shot is minimal or even free. We encourage you to get yourself and your family vaccinated because this flu season is far from winding down.