Flu cases show early uptick; get your yearly vaccine soon

Shannon Barbare, Communications Specialist | 303-692-2036 | shannon.barbare@state.co.us
DENVER— Twenty Coloradans have been hospitalized with flu since Aug. 1, about double the number of cases the state usually sees this time of year. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment urges Coloradans ages 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine, ideally before the end of October.
“Flu is unpredictable,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy. “The increased number of cases we’re seeing doesn’t necessarily signal a more serious flu season, but it does mean the sooner you get your flu shot, the better off you’ll be.” It takes about two weeks for the vaccination to take effect.
Here are some facts about this year’s flu vaccine:
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends only injectable flu shots this year. The nasal flu vaccine (FluMist) is not recommended.
  • The CDC, as well as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, recommend pregnant women get a flu vaccine during any trimester of their pregnancy. Influenza can be a more severe disease during pregnancy. Pregnant women may receive any licensed, recommended and age-appropriate flu vaccine.
  • Options for flu vaccine include vaccines protecting against three or four strains of flu; high-dose and enhanced vaccine for older people; and vaccines manufactured without eggs. People should discuss these choices with their health care providers.
      “Healthy people usually recover from the flu, but getting a shot keeps you from spreading the virus to more vulnerable people, such as those 65 years and older, children younger than 5, pregnant women and people with certain chronic medical conditions,” Herlihy said.
During last year’s flu season, 3,340 Coloradans were hospitalized with flu, and two Colorado children died.
            Check with your health care provider about getting vaccinated, or to find flu vaccines at retail outlets, visit vaccinefinder.org. People who need help paying for flu vaccine should contact their local public health agency.
Visit the department’s influenza data page to find the weekly flu report, starting Oct. 13.