LDH reports a child died from the flu this year; could be looking at the worst flu season in several years

Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 8:55 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Louisiana Department of Health reports a child died from the flu this year. Doctors say we could be looking at the worst flu season in several years as they keep a close eye on the flu cases.

“I don’t know if we’ve peaked and I certainly don’t know if the country has peaked,” said Dr. Jennifer Avegno. “Our Children’s Hospital like many others across the country have been full to bursting for weeks.”

A Louisiana child is among the country’s five pediatric flu deaths already this season. LDH says the state averages around 500 to 1500 flu deaths in an average year, and experts say things could get worse with flu patients already filling hospitals.

“Over one in ten ER visit in the state right now, is people seeking care because of flu symptoms. And when you think about all the other reasons people go to the ER, that’s a ton of people,” said Dr. Joe Kanter with the Lousiana Department of Health.

Experts say Louisiana hasn’t seen this many flu patients in emergency rooms over the past five years. They attribute the increase primarily to precautions people took during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The LDH says the best way to combat the flu is to roll up your sleeve for a shot, especially with Thanksgiving, Christmas and Mardi Gras around the corner.

Health experts say keeping sick family members away from gatherings and masking up could also help stop the spread -- and with flu expected to get worse, some doctors say they could be changing how the holidays look, yet again.

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