RBC I During the 2013-14 flu season, there were 1,759 hospitalizations in Colorado caused by the flu, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment advises people to get a vaccine as soon as possible to protect themselves from seasonal influenza.
The vaccine now is available at most physician’s offices and pharmacies as flu season can run from early October to late April.
“Since flu season is unpredictable, we recommend getting vaccinated as early as you can; it’s important to get vaccinated before outbreaks occur since it takes two weeks for the flu vaccine to become effective,” said Dr. Rachel Herlily, deputy director of the department’s Disease Control and Environmental Epidemiology Division.
An annual influenza vaccination is recommended for everyone, beginning with children six months old. People at high risk of serious complications from seasonal influenza include those 65 years and older, children younger than five years, pregnant women and people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions.
Children aged six months through eight years may need to get two doses of the vaccine, spaced at least four weeks apart. When available, the nasal spray vaccine (LAIV) should be used for healthy children aged 2 through 8 years unless the child has a condition that contraindicates the vaccine. If the nasal spray isn’t available, the flu shot (IIV) should be used instead.
People 65 and older are able to receive the high-dose flu vaccine, when available, to create a stronger immune response for this population.
This year, the department wants to spread its “Take the Flu Pledge” Facebook application instead of the flu. This app allows Facebook users to pledge to get their flu vaccination and use Facebook or Twitter to encourage their family, friends and followers to do the same.