Flu activity is high among Larimer County residents, with 147 hospitalized flu cases so far this year; of those cases, about two-thirds were age 65 or older. Eighteen long-term care facilities have also reported outbreaks in Larimer County. So far this season the predominant type of influenza is A(H3N2), which is likely to be more severe in adults 65 and older. Other people at risk for complications include pregnant women (and up to 2 weeks after giving birth), children under age 5 (especially under age 2), and those with chronic medical conditions.  

Influenza is a respiratory disease, and is not to be confused with so-called “stomach flu” (gastroenteritis).

“Unfortunately, many high-risk people who get the flu don’t know they’re at high risk or that a prescription drug is available to reduce complications,” said Dr. Adrienne LeBailly, director of the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment. “These drugs—antivirals such as Tamiflu or Relenza—work best when the prescription is started within a couple days of symptoms appearing.  If you’re in a high-risk group, call your health care provider when you first get sick to check if an antiviral medicine is needed.”

Although vaccine effectiveness may be lower than usual this year, the Health Department still recommends that those who have not yet had a flu vaccination get one soon, because it takes about two weeks to provide protection. 

While vaccination can prevent illness, and antivirals can help prevent complications, it’s also important to reduce your chance of getting infected by washing your hands often and avoiding contact with sick people. Stay home when you are sick and cover coughs and sneezes to avoid spreading flu in schools and the workplace.  Never visit family members and friends in long-term care facilities when you are sick. 

For more information on flu and flu vaccination, see https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm

Published on: 
Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 3:40pm
Contact Details: 

Katie O'Donnell

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