Influenza or the  flu, it doesn't matter what you call it, it feels miserable once you get it. Across the state and across the nation we are entering into the peak of the flu season already. The increase in instances of the flu is likely to increase as holiday travelers visit other parts of the world and share "the love".

Doctors across the state are seeing the annual rise in flu diagnosis. Dr. Frank Welch with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals says this uptick is not unexpected. It's simply part of this time of year.

It’s actually the fact that when we get cold weather or inclement weather, everyone stays inside and closes the doors and windows. So we’re just simply closer to each other in those situations.

Dr. Welch in his comments to the Louisiana Radio Network says that preventing the flu or at least reducing your chances of contracting the disease are really quite simple.

Wash your hands, cover your cough, and really if you are sick, please stay home from school and work until you’re better so that you don’t spread it to other people.

Many pharmacies and other health agencies are already offering low cost and even free flu shots. Dr. Welch and many other health care providers suggest that you get one. It could certainly lessen the effects of the flu should you happen to be exposed to the virus.

Just remember, you have to get the flu from someone else. So even though you wouldn’t get seriously ill with the flu, some people might, and they have to get it from people like you and I.

In addition to frequent hand washing Dr. Welch advises you to keep common surfaces such as counter tops clean and disinfected. He also suggests that doorknobs and TV remotes and other frequently handled objects be wiped down with a disinfectant from time to time to lessen your chances of getting the flu.