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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) – The runny noses, coughs, and sneezes are ramping up as the flu season takes hold in south Louisiana.


“The last couple of weeks we’ve been seeing some flu-like illnesses with runny nose, congestion, some fevers, and body aches,” said Dr. Stephen Sanches with the Baton Rouge Clinic Pediatrics at Industriplex.


Sanches says so far, the season has been pretty light, but that does not guarantee things will stay that way. “We haven’t seen any recent uptick in the number of cases, but that can change at any moment,” he added.


While it’s still a little early, Sanches says it’s nothing like what we saw this time last year. Then, the virus was blamed for killing 180 children nationwide and sending thousands more to the hospital. The season typically peaks in Louisiana around the first of the year, which means right now, it’s still not too late to protect yourself. “We’re kind of advocating for people to come in now. It’s never too late to get the flu shot because you never know when the season’s going to ramp up,” said Sanches.


You’ve likely heard the familiar tips to stay safe, like wash your hands frequently, limit contact with those who may be sick, or stay home from work if you’re feeling bad, but one reason the illness bounces around so quickly is because it can be unpredictable and often strike with little to no warning. “Unfortunately, so many of these things are contagious before the patient is even showing any symptoms, so sometimes it can be impossible to fully prevent the spread,” he added.


The best thing you can do though, is to get checked out the moment you notice something is off.

Click here to see Dr. Sanches’ interview


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