Ochsner Recommends Eight Tips for Staying Healthy During Flu Season

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By Ochsner Medical Center – BR
    Flu season starts as early as October and can run as late as May with peak months for flu outbreaks between December and February. With over 200,000 Americans hospitalized each year due to flu complications, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports now is the time to get your flu shot for protection from this year’s season.
    Flu is different than a cold in that it is more severe affecting your nose, throat and lungs. Symptoms often include fever, chills, coughing, sore throat, nasal congestion, body aches and headaches.
    Since the flu shot normally takes approximately two weeks for the antibodies to develop for protection against the flu, it is important to receive the shot prior to community outbreak. In addition to keeping yourself healthy, it will also assist in slowing the spread of flu within your home and those you come in contact with.  
    In preparation for this year’s flu season, the eight essential tips to keep you and your loved ones protected this year are: 
    1. Get your flu vaccine every year starting at six months of age to stay healthy during flu season. 
    2. Taking two doses spaced a minimum of thirty days apart is the recommendation the first year your baby receives the flu vaccine. 
    3. The annual flu shot not only provides you with protection – it also helps to protect those who are at higher risk such as babies who are too young to get the vaccine and the elderly.  
    4. The flu viruses can change each year, so scientists study these changes and use this information to develop the next season’s flu vaccine.  This is why we get vaccinated every year.
    5. In the past, certain patients could be vaccinated using a nasal spray instead of the shot.  However, the CDC is not recommending the nasal flu spray this year since it did not work as well as the shot.  It is important to understand that the flu shot cannot give you the flu illness because it is made using an inactivated virus. 
    6. There are a few common side effects to be aware of after receiving the flu shot including: soreness at the site, body aches and low grade fever.
    7. Those with an egg allergy can receive the flu vaccine.  If you have had a severe allergic reaction to egg then we recommend that the vaccine be given in a medical facility with your health provider present to manage any allergic reaction should one occur. 
    8. Make sure you practice good hand hygiene to help prevent illness and keep your family safe.   If you or a loved one starts having flu-like symptoms, we encourage you to contact your physician for advice.  
    For more information on staying healthy this flu season, visit  For appointments to get your flu shot at any of our Baton Rouge region locations, call 225-761-5200 or visit Online appointments can be made through the MyOchsner patient portal or by clicking Online Appointments.