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Flu is here — still time to get flu shots

By Jane Looney
Special to The SUN

Colorado and other states are experiencing higher than average flu cases this year. There have been 52 individuals hospitalized due to flu in Colorado already this year. The average number of hospitalized cases for this time of year is eight. Health officials nationally are concerned about both the higher numbers they’re seeing as well as how early it seems to be hitting populations.

“We know it’s in the community,” said Bari Wagner, southwest epidemiologist for San Juan Basin Health. While there have been no reported cases of hospitalizations in Archuleta or La Plata counties, Wagner said that people are going to local emergency rooms and testing positive for influenza.

“With the holiday season and family and friends gathering, we wanted to remind those in our community to protect themselves and those around them by getting a flu shot,” said Wagner.

Flu shots are readily available in the community as well as at San Juan Basin Health.

“I want to reinforce to people that flu is a serious illness and can result in hospitalization and even death,” Wagner said.

Additionally, flu shots can help prevent loss of work and school days due to illness.

While the CDC recommends everyone get a flu vaccine, people at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease, and people 65 years and older.

Wagner advises individuals to encourage those they know who might be pregnant, have asthma, or type 1 or 2 diabetes and their household contacts to get vaccinated today.

If you’d like to schedule an appointment to get the flu shot at San Juan Basin Health, call 335-2013.

This story was posted on December 14, 2012.