We are well into March. For most of us in South Louisiana, we should be worrying about seasonal allergies and not the flu. In a normal year flu season should be long gone, or at least beginning to wane where we live but that is not the case according to the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

The CDC says flu activity remains rather high across the country. In fact, the CDC isn't even sure that we have hit the peak of this year's season. To complicate things doctors and hospitals are seeing a second wave of flu cases. 48 states and Puerto Rico are reporting high flu activity.

That's why health care providers are still encouraging those who have not gotten a flu shot to get one. On many insurance plans, a flu shot can be obtained at little or no cost.

There are other preventative measures that can be taken to decrease your chances of being infected. Among those measures are frequent hand washing, staying away from those who are sick, sequestering yourself if you're feeling sick, and cleaning and disinfecting common areas around your home or workspace.

Most of the nation has been infected by the H1N1 flu virus. However, in the Southeast, there has been an increase in the H3N2 virus. That virus, the H3N2, produces a more severe disease. That strain of the flu is the one most likely to create the need for hospitalization among those who contract it.

The bottom line is this. The flu is still out there. It can make you very sick and depending upon your overall general health can be fatal. We suggest you contact your health care provider at the first signs of sickness. While there is no "cure" for the flu, there are steps that can be taken to lessen the severity of its impact.

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