Louisiana has one of the highest levels of flu cases reported by the Centers for Disease Control, but simple tasks can be done to prevent this virus from spreading.

Diana Blake, Morehouse General Hospital, said there have been quite a few cases of Influenza A strain at MGH. She explained that most of the flu shots have been for Influenza B strain, so prevention is a must.

"The elderly, children and those with a chronic disease will be more susceptible to the flu," she said.

"Hand washing is the key to prevention. Also, remember to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough and use hand sanitizer.

"The flu is viral and is transferred through upper respiratory track. Most of the time the symptoms are treated. For example, if someone is dehydrated then give them fluid."

Dr. Tina Stefanski, Office of Public Health, said we are at peak flu season now.

"We have a very busy flu season," Stefanski said. "Type A strain has been more common. It is called the H3N2-A virus.

"The flu shot has a 32 percent effectiveness against this strain. The best thing you can do to prevent is get the flu vaccine. People who are vaccinated also have less serious symptoms. It is not too late to be vaccinated."

Stefanski said anyone six months of age or older can get the flu vaccine.

"Flu is spread through little droplets in the air," she said. "Use good hand and respiratory hygiene. Avoid touching your face with your hands before you eat.

"If you cough or sneeze, use your shoulder or arm. If you think you may have contracted the flu, stay home. Hydrate and take meds for fever. There are antivirals that can help. If taken early enough, they can help shorten the course and severity of the flu."

The CDC advises to stay away from those people who are infected with the virus.

The following are a list of flu symptoms given by the CDC:

-Fever or feeling feverish/chills

-Cough

-Sore throat

-Runny or stuffy nose

-Muscle or body aches

-Headaches

-Fatigue (very tired)

-For some vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in young children than in adults.

According to the CDC, it is still not too late to get a flu shot. If the flu symptoms are contracted, the CDC recommends staying home and avoiding contact with other people, except medical care.

However, if the person who is exhibiting flu-like symptoms is in a high risk group then they are advised to contact their doctor immediately.

High risk groups include: children younger than five, adults 65 years of age or older, pregnant women, residents of nursing homes, and those who have a chronic illness.

For more information visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov.

Stefanski said all Health Units, including the Bastrop Health Unit will be giving the flu vaccine on Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 1-4:30 p.m. For more information call the Bastrop Heath Unit at 283.0806.