Flu sends 15 to hospital in Moffat County; peak yet to come | CraigDailyPress.com

Flu sends 15 to hospital in Moffat County; peak yet to come

Health care providers say that getting vaccinated is still the best way to protect against the flu.

CRAIG — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began tracking flu cases across the nation in October, and through Jan. 20, there have been 15 flu-associated hospitalizations in Moffat County.

The CDC only receives reports from hospitals.

According to Olivia Scheele, Northwest Colorado Health registered nurse, in Moffat County, about 10 people are testing positive for flu each week at the NWCH clinic.

Memorial Regional Health Medical Clinic reports a similar trend.

"We have been seeing lots of influenza, much more than last year," said Kevin Monahan, Memorial Regional Health physician assistant.

Monahan was not aware of any influenza-related deaths in the county. During the last two flu seasons, peak time for flu in Colorado has been February through March, according to cdc.gov.

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"We are still strongly recommending the influenza vaccine," Monahan said.

Young children, the elderly, people with chronic conditions and pregnant women are particularly susceptible to the flu and may benefit from vaccinations.

Vaccines also have the potential to protect the community by creating herd immunity.

“If enough people are vaccinated, we can prevent the spread of the infection,”Scheele said. "… We protect not only ourselves, but those who can't get vaccinated. It's not only important for yourself, but you are protecting your community, as well."

Scheele offered the following tips to help prevent flu.

• Get a flu shot every year; the shot does not cause the flu.

• Cover coughs.

• Avoid sharing eating utensils.

• Change toothbrushes.

• Stay hydrated and rest.

Antibiotics won't help with the flu.

"Flu is treated symptomatically," Scheele said. "If prescribed an anti-viral, take the whole course to decrease your symptoms and decrease the likelihood of spreading it to others. "

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.