Late Peak Across the Country Means the Bug Can Still Make You Sick
(ASPEN, CO)There is still a lot of nasty “crud” going around that has been diagnosed as the flu in some cases. Local health officials say that since flu season is peaking much later this year than in past years getting a flu shot now can still prevent you from catching the debilitating bug. Pitkin County Community Health Services is hosting its final flu shot clinic of the season on Wednesday, March 14th from 10 am to 5pm at the Health and Human Services Building 0405 Castle Creek Road, Suite 6, Aspen.
“While we’re not seeing as many local hospitalizations because of the flu as we have seen in recent years, we are hearing about plenty of people who are just miserable with the flu. It’s not just a common cold that sets you back a couple of days. The flu is different from a cold. The flu will put you out of commission for at least a week or two,” said Director of Community Health Services, Liz Stark.
The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
· Fever or feeling feverish/chills
· Sore throat
· Runny or stuffy nose
· Muscle or body aches
· Fatigue (tiredness)
· Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
Nationally, the percentage of specimens testing positive for influenza in the United States was 18.4% for the week ending February 25th, an increase from the previous week (14.6%).
In Colorado, for the same time period, the percentage of specimens testing positive for influenza was also slightly higher at 15.5% compared to 14.4%.
So far this appears to be a milder year for influenza compared to last year, but it’s not over yet.
“We have an ample supply of flu vaccine and flu mist available,” Stark said.
Flu vaccinations are recommended for everyone age 6 months and older and highly recommended for high risk groups: all children age 6 months through 4 years old, anyone 50 years and older, anyone with a weakened immune system, women who will be pregnant during flu season, residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, any adult or child with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, health care personnel who have direct contact with patients, out-of-home caregivers and contacts of anyone in any of the high risk groups.
Remember all the ways to prevent the flu!
- Get vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all adults and children older than 6 months receive a flu shot.
- Hand washing is one of the most important things you can do!
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and, when you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
- Stay home when you are sick to prevent others from catching your illness. If possible, stay home from work, school, or public places until at least 24 hours after a fever has ceased without the use of fever-reducing medications. (A fever is defined as 100ºF or 37.8ºC.)
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If you don't have a tissue, then cough or sneeze into your sleeve. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands.
- Clean your hands after coughing or sneezing, washing with soap and water, or with alcohol-based hand cleaner.
- Avoid touching your face often because germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.