As you may have noticed, it’s getting a little winterish. And although winter in Colorado means many wonderful things — winter sports, Winter Warmer, cozy coffeeshops and so, so much more — it also means flu season.
And the flu is taking off more quickly in Colorado this season than last.
Since Oct. 2, there have been 32 total flu related hospitalizations in Colorado, including three in Denver County. Colorado is reporting more hospitalizations from the flu this year than last year at this time.
Last year, there were less than five reported cases of flu-related hospitalizations in the week leading up to Nov. 21, 2015. It took until Jan. 30 for hospitalizations to surpass 30.
But don’t panic: The CDC reports flu activity has been light this season, and when you compare the 2014 to 2015 and 2009 to 2010 seasons, we are doing just fine.
Sixteen cultures tested positive for influenza A, subtype H3N2, two for H1N1. Others tested positive for influenza A and B, but the subtypes were not identified. There are vaccinations available that cover both (and two more strains) this year, and the CDC recommends vulnerable individuals over the age of six months get vaccinated early on.
Vaccinations are known to be only 50 to 60 percent effective in completely staving off the virus but can reduce symptoms, risk of death or possible re-infection by a different strand of flu if an individual has already been sick during a season.
And Kaiser Permanente is offering higher dose vaccinations for the elderly and immunocompromised individuals, although the CDC is still conducting research on the effectiveness of heightened doses.
Where to get a flu shot:
Flu vaccinations are available from primary care doctors and most pharmacies, including CVS, Safeway, Walgreens and Albertson’s for those six months of age or older. Don’t want to risk it? Check out this flu vaccine finder, courtesy of the CDC:
Subscribe to Denverite’s newsletter here.