Colorado officials urge residents to get vaccination before flu season
As flu season approaches the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is urging Coloradans ages 6 months and older to get flu shots this month after record numbers of hospitalizations hit the state last season.
“The flu vaccine helps you stay at work, in school and enjoying all Colorado has to offer,” said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state communicable disease epidemiologist. “Flu vaccination can keep you and others from getting sick, make your illness milder if you do get sick and help you stay out of the hospital.”
From Oct. 1, 2017 through May 26, 2018 more than 4,600 Coloradans were hospitalized with the flu, more than in any other recorded flu season in the state’s history. Flu cases typically begin to increase in October and peak in late-December or early January before dropping off in spring. Because it usually takes two weeks for the vaccine to take effect, officials say October is the ideal time to get it.
“This year, there are more flu vaccine options than ever, especially for young children and people with egg allergies,” said Lynn Trefren, immunization branch manager at the state health department. “Check with your health care provider or vaccination clinic for help choosing the best one for you.”
State health experts emphasize that the flu vaccine plays an important role in protecting vulnerable people. There were 183 outbreaks associated with flu in long-term care facilities last year, another record for Colorado. Young children and the elderly are considered to be at the highest risk.
“Healthy people usually recover from the flu, but getting a shot keeps you from spreading the virus to people 65 and older, children under 5, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic medical conditions,” said Herlihy. “Adults 65 and older should be sure to get a flu vaccine every year, and check whether they have had a pneumococcal vaccine.”
To fine flu vaccine retail outlets, visit vaccinefinder.org. Interested parties can also track the states flu numbers starting on Oct. 9 using the Colorado Flu Report on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s website.
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