LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – It’s unfortunately that time of the year again, the peak of flu season.
Officials tell News 10 that over the last week or so, they’ve seen a dramatic number of flu cases both here in Louisiana and nationwide.
Outbreaks continue to be reported from schools to long-term care facilities in the state.
According to the Influenza Surveillance Report, in Louisiana number of influenza tests reported by clinical labs nearly tripled last week, and more than 25% of the tests reported positive.
According to the CDC, 28 flu-related deaths in children have been recorded this flu season.
One local day care is looking to do whatever they can, to keep the virus away from the classroom.
“Well the kids come in and they step up here and use the foaming hand soap, and then this is a visual to show them how to wash their hands,” said Jody Aycock, owner of Sarah’s Day Care Center in Lafayette.
At Sarah’s Day Care Center, a unique policy is in place not only for their students, but for all day care employees and parents, when they enter the building.
“When they (students) come into school they wash their hands. Before lunch and before eating a snack, after going out,” he said.
It’s a hand washing policy being enforced by Aycock.
“As far as germs from outside, we feel like if we start out with a fresh pair of hands in the morning, then that’s good,” said Aycock.
The school also sends children home if they have any signs of illness.
“Now in this area and in this state and actually across the nation, we’re starting to see a peak. So you’re going to hear about more people with the flu,” said Dr. Tina Stefanski, the regional Medical Director for the Office of Public Health in Acadiana.
She says usually the peak of flu season is between November and March.
“Wash your hands, especially before you eat. If you’re coughing or sneezing cover your mouth with a tissue or with your arm,” said Dr. Stefanski.
The best way to avoid getting the flu Stefanski says is by getting a flu shot.
Aycock knows there’s no way of really preventing the virus from coming on to the campus, but he’s hopeful his policies will reduce the risk of more students getting sick.
“But for the most part, we feel like leaving the children out that are mildly ill is going to promote wellness in the entire school,” he said.
Officials with the Office of Public Health, tell News 10 that while every flu season is different, last year was abnormal and this season appears to be pretty typical.
However, doctors are seeing the peak of flu activity right now.
Stefanski says the flu virus can be spread through respiratory secretions, a day before you even develop symptoms, and usually as long as you have a fever, you can spread the virus.
Children can usually spread the virus longer than adults.
If you plan on getting the flu shot, just remember it takes 2 weeks before it goes into effect.
Region 4 Parish Health Units are offering FREE flu shots to the public.
For more information, check out the photo below.