If you’re feeling a little under the weather, you aren’t alone. According to the Louisiana Department of Health, influenza or “flu” season is here and is wreaking havoc. “Louisiana is among the states with the highest confirmed illness through symptoms and laboratory surveillance.”

“In more severe seasons, the flu causes approximately 700 deaths and nearly 8,000 hospitalizations each year,” said Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary, Louisiana Department of Health. “In Louisiana, we are already on track to meet and possibly exceed these statistics for the current flu season.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Flu Season begins sometime around October and November. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February and can last as late as May.”

Louisiana Department of Health Officials and the CDC urge people over the age of 6 months old and who do not have a complicating condition to get the flu shot.

“A flu shot is especially crucial for people who may be at higher risk for serious complications. This includes babies and young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions and people 65 years and older,” said a Louisiana Department of Health press release.

In addition to the flu vaccine, Louisiana Department of Health officials say protective measures like avoiding contact with people who are sick, washing your hands frequently, and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs are all good ways to avoid catching the flu.

Louisiana isn’t the only state to see a more severe flu season than normal. In California, 27 people under the age of 65 have died from influenza this season, which is nine times higher than the previous season.