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Louisiana - Flu is here, but doctors say it's not too late for flu shot

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  • Louisiana - Flu is here, but doctors say it's not too late for flu shot

    Flu is here, but doctors say it's not too late for flu shot
    Posted on December 4, 2012 at 7:04 PM
    Updated today at 7:21 PM
    Meg Farris / Eyewitness News

    NEW ORLEANS -- Louisiana and the south are being hit hard by the flu.
    Several southern states are seeing unusually high numbers of cases of the flu for this time of year. Louisiana is one of them, and the New Orleans area is being hit pretty hard.
    "We wind up with positive tests on about 50 percent of the people that we're suspicious have the flu," said Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich, the chief medical officer of East Jefferson After Hours Urgent Care.
    "To have this amount of influenza this early in the year is certainly more than I've seen in the last 10 years," Dr. Lutz said from his Uptown office.
    "I'm personally aware of a patient as young as 21 die from complications of the flu who was completely healthy. I'm aware of a 30-year-old who died of complications of the flu," said Dr. Cvitanovich, who is also the coroner of Jefferson Parish.

    Doctors say you should get the vaccine now. If you get sick, get a doctor's diagnosis and start on an antiviral the first day.

    Expect to be in bed for days, then feeling fatigue for three or more weeks. And since influenza affects every organ and system in the body, be aware that one little known side effect is on the brain, causing post-flu depression that should be treated.

    "There have been suicide deaths related to influenza. I know of about half a dozen in the last 10 or 15 years in the New Orleans area," said Dr. Lutz.
    And doctors say that one of the strains going around is more powerful and can cause more damage to the body.

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