It’s Peak Flu Season: Practice Germ Control to Avoid Illness

Jan. 30, 2020

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana was among the states with the highest flu activity by the end of 2019. As peak flu season gets under way, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana reminds everyone to practice germ control so they can lower their risk of the flu and other illnesses.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people can get the flu at any time of year, but flu season typically lasts from fall to through early spring, with the most flu cases happening between December and February.

“This year’s flu season is unusual because we started seeing a lot of cases reported in October and November, which is much earlier than usual, and we’re still seeing lots of cases as we hit peak flu season,” said Dr. Larry Simon, an ENT and Blue Cross medical director. “It is very important you take steps to protect yourself from getting sick as we head into the late winter months.”

That includes getting your flu shot, if you have not already. “Unless your doctor has a concern or you have had an allergic reaction in the past, there is no downside to getting the flu shot, so ask your doctor or pharmacist about it,” Simon said. “Ideally, you want to get your flu shot in the fall, but flu season can last into April or even May, so you will still get months of protection.”

It’s also important to practice effective germ control to prevent getting the flu or other illnesses, and to avoid making others sick. Good steps to take include:

  • Keep your hands clean. Wash hands often with soap and water. If you can’t wash your hands, use hand sanitizer. Always wash your hands before handling food and after blowing your nose or using the bathroom.
  • Do not cough or sneeze into your bare hands. Use a tissue, and if a tissue isn’t available, use the elbow of your shirt or jacket sleeve.
  • Disinfect common areas. These include countertops, desks, kitchen counters and other surfaces that many people touch.
  • Avoid eating and drinking after others. Keep cups, plates and utensils separate, and don’t eat or drink from the same portion as others. Use servingware; don’t pick up food with your bare hands. Make sure all food is cooked thoroughly and kept at the proper temperature. 
  • If you are sick, STAY HOME. This includes keeping your children home if they are sick. Do not go to school, work or public places until you’re not contagious. And, do not go around other people if they are sick.  

These tips can not only help prevent flu, they can prevent colds, stomach viruses and other seasonal illnesses. The CDC is offering similar germ-control guidance for the Chinese coronavirus outbreak that has led to cases being reported in other countries, including the United States.

If you have symptoms like coughing and congestion with a fever, these can be warning signs of the flu or other respiratory illnesses. See a healthcare provider right away to get tested.

If you have symptoms but are not sure if you should be tested for the flu, you can use telehealth to see a doctor. Blue Cross customers can use BlueCare to have 24/7 online visits from any device with internet and a camera.

Visit the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana YouTube page to see short videos with the clinical team on flu and other health topics. Subscribe to know when new videos are added. You can also connect with Blue Cross on social media for regular health news and updates.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We were recognized in 2019 as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in United States. 

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at or talk to us on social media.