It's nice to have visitors come home for the holidays. Unfortunately, all that togetherness could mean a better chance for you to get the flu. If you think about how many people will drive from other parts of the country and include the fact that so many others will be in crowded airports and confined airplanes, it really is no wonder the flu is on the increase across the nation and in Louisiana.

The good news is that the state has only seen a slight uptick in reported flu cases leading up to the holiday travel season. The bad news, you can rest assured there will be an increase in flu cases in the coming weeks.

Over the past week, week and a half we’ve seen a fairly significant jump in the number of flu cases. We’re up about 1.5%.

The words of Dr. Frank Welch with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. Dr. Welch made his comments to the Louisiana Radio Network and he says the flu isn't the only malady that citizens of Louisiana should be mindful of.

Dr. Welch said that the mumps have become a concern across some of our neighboring states. Arkansas, in particular, has seen a rather large outbreak of the disease over the past few weeks.

Fortunately, that does not seem to have affected Louisiana yet, but we’re also on the lookout for mumps, as well as several cold viruses going around.

Dr. Welch's advice for avoiding sickness during this time of the year including the flu?

Make sure you go and get that flu shot, and then follow those simple rules that we all follow. Wash your hands frequently, cover your cough, and if you are sick, please try and stay away from those family gatherings.

Remember flu shots don't work instantly. It takes several weeks for the body to build up the immunity to the flu virus. So, even if you aren't sick now or haven't been around people who are sick the earlier you can get that shot the better off you will be.

One other thing about your flu shot. It might not prevent you from getting the flu but in most cases should you contract the disease it will help shorten and lessen the severity of the symptoms.