Flu season underway in Colorado; few cases locally | CraigDailyPress.com

Flu season underway in Colorado; few cases locally

The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association is encouraging people to get their flu shots this winter before the season sets in. The nurses say the shot will help reduce symptoms and could prevent death in some cases.
John F. Russell

Flu season is ramping up in Colorado, with the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics showing increased influenza activity across the state.

The most current state report includes data through Nov. 29 and shows that nearly all cases in the state are an H3 strand of the virus.

Statistics are based on reporting by hospitals and aren’t comprehensive, but trends in the data reveal that flu cases picked up in mid- to late November.

There could be more than just a couple of flu cases in the region because not all people experiencing symptoms are tested for the virus, according to Amy Knights, public health nurse coordinator for the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association.

“A lot of times we don’t know about all of them,” Knights said.

The most recently Colorado Flu Report weekly update reported 57 new hospitalizations in Colorado from the week of Nov. 23 to 29, including 34 from that week and 23 late reports added to the previous week’s stats.

Since monitoring of flu season began Sept. 28, there have been 95 hospitalizations in Colorado for influenza-associated reasons.

Knights said she knew of five deaths across the country so far during this flu season.

She recommended getting a vaccine for the flu regardless of if the person is part of a susceptible population.

“Even if you don’t get the flu, it’s important to get the flu vaccine,” she said.

Although the vaccine doesn’t work against this year’s common H3 strain, other strains are protected against and the vaccine still is useful, Knights said.

The CDC recommend an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months or older, citing documented benefits including reduced illnesses and doctor visits, and less missed work or school.

Young children and the elderly are most susceptible to the contagious respiratory illness that can cause a fever, cough, sore throat, running or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue, or any combination of the symptoms.

Moffat County residents can get a flu shot for $20, mist for $30 or a flu block for $40 (egg allergy) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the TMH Walk-In Clinic.

Clinics at the Craig VNA will take place from 8:30 a.m. to noon Tuesday and every Thursday from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., 745 Russell St.

Appointments also are available at other times by calling the flu hotline at 970-871-7624.

Insurance will be processed for children and adults that bring their insurance cards.

The cost of a flu shot for uninsured adults and children or for children’s FluMist is $21.50.

Shot also are available at Walgreens, Safeway, City Market, Walmart and Lyon Drug Store.

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