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Nov. 19: Spread holiday cheer, not the flu

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Mark Salley
Communications Director
Spread holiday cheer, not the flu
Get your flu vaccination before the holidays
DENVER — As the holidays approach, state health officials urge Coloradans to protect themselves and their families by getting a flu vaccination.  
Anyone who hasn’t yet gotten a flu vaccination should do so now to allow their body time to build immunity before holiday celebrations begin,” said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, medical advisor for the immunization section at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “The influenza virus can spread easily from person-to-person during holiday get-togethers.”
Last year more than 1,500 people in Colorado were hospitalized with influenza. The single best way to protect yourself from the flu is by getting vaccinated. It takes about two weeks after getting the vaccination for your body to build the antibodies needed to protect you from the flu. 
The CDC recommends everyone over the age of six months receive a flu vaccine. People at high risk of serious complications from seasonal influenza include people 65 years and older, children younger than five years, pregnant women and people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions.
“Flu season typically peaks in January after holiday celebrations,” said Dr. Herlihy. “But we already have received reports about flu in our community, so it’s best to get immunized before the holiday season gets underway.”
The flu vaccine is widely available at doctor’s offices, clinics, local health departments and pharmacies. Visit http://flushot.healthmap.org to learn about the different types of vaccines available and to find a vaccination location near you. For more information on Colorado vaccination efforts, check out the state health department’s vaccination pages on Facebook and Twitter.