If you believe the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, our area is in for a very busy flu season.

According to the latest information provided by the CDC, Louisiana is above the national average in regards to visits for influenza-like illness (ILI).

Nationally, about 1.5% of visits to a health care provider in October has been for ILI. However, in Louisiana, we are the highest percentage at 4.6%.

“I’ve seen flu-like illness prior to October and sometimes after April,” said Dr. Rani Whitfield, a family physician with Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge.

What's the reason for this? Well, Dr. Whitfield says this high percentage could be attributed to low vaccination rates for our region (which includes Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico).

For the 2018-19 season, 37.2% of adults over 18-years-old got a flu shot and 56.5% of children under 17-year-old got theirs.

According to national statistics, the national vaccination rate average is 47.3% for adults and 63.6% for children.

In addition to getting the flu shot, Dr. Whitfield says that people with symptoms like a sore throat, fever, or cough should avoid touching other people and objects they may come in contact with.

"Wash your hands, just basic hygiene," she said.

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