It’s not too late to catch the flu |

It’s not too late to catch the flu

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – The flu season is peaking later than usual this winter, according to Pitkin County health officials, but residents still have a shot at a flu vaccine as a preventative step.

Pitkin County Community Health Services will host its final flu-shot clinic of the season from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 14 at the Health and Human Services building at 0405 Castle Creek Road in 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,” said Liz Stark, director of Community Health Services, in a prepared statement.

The flu is very different from the common cold and can put someone out of commission for a week or two, she said.

The county has an ample supply of flu vaccine and FluMist available, Stark added.

In a typical winter, influenza type A, of which there are two strains, typically peaks from late December to mid-January, according to Dr. Morris Cohen, public health officer for both the county and the city of Aspen. Cases of type B influenza usually peak in January and February, but this year the flu appears to be gaining strength now, he said.

Nationally, the percentage of specimens testing positive for influenza hovered at an unusually low 4 to 5 percent as flu season commenced, but it has been on the rise lately, Cohen said. It was at 18.4 percent for the week ending Feb. 25, an increase from 14.6 percent the previous week, according to health officials.

“We were way below normal until now. It makes me worry about a late surge,” Cohen said. “What we’re saying is it’s not too late to get a flu shot.”

People who received a vaccine last fall don’t need another one, he added.

The flu usually comes on suddenly, according to Community Health. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. Some individuals experience vomiting and diarrhea, though those effects are more common in children than adults.

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