Flu vaccinations available as influenza spreads

Late season flu vaccinations can help stop influenza spread

January 11, 2013

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – Influenza is hitting Colorado residents hard, as it is also impacting people across the nation this year. There have been more than 500 flu-related hospitalizations statewide, and the number of cases rises each day. Six hospitalizations have been reported in Garfield County so far this season, and medical providers locally are treating increasing numbers of people with flu symptoms.

Such symptoms typically include fever, cough, body aches, upper respiratory congestion, and fatigue. Those experiencing symptoms are encouraged to stay home and keep ill children home from school. Frequent hand washing and covering of coughs are very important preventative measures.

“The flu vaccine is the very best defense against the flu,” said Laurel Little, nurse manager for Garfield County Public Health. “It isn’t too late to get a flu shot, but, I recommend you get one the sooner the better, as it can take up to two weeks for the vaccine to be effective.”

Flu effects not only impact those who get sick, but the recent nationwide spread of the illness exemplifies how important it is for vaccine use to protect others. “We have data showing that about 30% of Garfield County residents get flu vaccinations. This is great, but the more people who are vaccinated, the better our entire community is protected against the flu,” said Little.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports that about 90% of this year’s circulating flu matches the strains that are in the vaccine.

Garfield County Public Health still has plenty of vaccine available, and residents can call 945-6614 in Glenwood Springs, or 625-5200 in Rifle, to make appointments for vaccinations.