POSTED: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 7:45pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 7:49pm
Baton Rouge, La (NBC33) — Health experts say flu season is here, and it's off to a strong start.
The Centers for Disease Control claim this is the earliest start to a flu season in about a decade. 41 states are reporting widespread flu cases.
More than 2,200 people have been hospitalized with the virus nationwide and 18 children have died.
In Louisiana, the flu is already hitting a record number of people. The state's on track to reporting the highest number of flu cases ever. However, it's not too late to vaccinate yourself against the seasonal bug.
Doctors point out that it takes two weeks for a flu shot to take full effect, and they say with the severity of the influenza virus this year, it's crucial for people to keep getting vaccinated.
"We're seeing epidemic proportions both in the pediatric as well as in the adult population,” stated health professional Henrynne Louden with the Stanocola Clinic. “Unfortunately, that means people have not really been heeding the call to have the vaccine."
The Stanocola Clinic and many other places across the Capitol City region are offering up free flu shots this season.