Seasonal flu is a form of influenza ("the flu") that occurs yearly. It is a contagious respiratory disease caused by an influenza virus. Flu can show up as a mild illness or can result in complications that are serious and debilitating. Complications of seasonal flu can result in serious illness and thousands of deaths per year in the U.S.
You are encouraged to get your seasonal flu vaccine as soon as possible. According to the CDC the seasonal flu vaccine provides protection for at least one year following vaccination. Immunity from a flu vaccine received in September is expected to last the entire flu season.
Until January 1, 2017, children from 6 months through 18 years old: $10.00
19 and older, $20.00
The best time to receive a flu vaccination is from September through January. However, it is not too late to receive a flu vaccination as late as February or March since flu can continue into spring. Persons at high risk for complications of the flu should try to receive the shot by November (see below).
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If you are using the Health Department for your flu vaccination, you can receive your vaccine at the following clinic sites:
Las Animas County Health Department
412 Benedicta Ave
Trinidad, CO 81082
Huerfano County Health Department
119 E. 5th Street
Walsenburg, CO 81082
Flu vaccine is recommended for anyone over 6 months old.
Heightened importance for:
Flu vaccine is strongly encouraged for:
Who should not get a flu shot:
Symptoms of the flu
The flu attacks the nose, throat and lungs, but is different from a cold. Influenza usually comes on suddenly and may include fever, headache, extreme fatigue, dry cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches which are sometimes severe.
Complications of the flu
Complications caused by the flu can result in very serious extended illness or even death in weakened individuals. Complications include bacterial pneumonia, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions such as heart problems, asthma or diabetes. Children may get sinus problems and ear infections.
Each year, more than 200,000 people may be hospitalized from complications of the flu. Many thousands of people die each year from these complications.
How to Know if You Have the Flu
Your respiratory illness might be the flu if you have sudden onset of body aches, fever, and respiratory symptoms, and your illness occurs during November through April (the usual flu season in the Northern Hemisphere). However, during this time, other respiratory illnesses can cause similar symptoms and flu can be caught at any time of the year. It is impossible to tell for sure if you have the flu based on symptoms alone. Doctors can perform tests to see if you have the flu if you are in the first few days of your illness.
The myth of the "stomach flu"
Many people use the term "stomach flu" to describe illnesses with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. These symptoms can be caused by many different viruses, bacteria, or even parasites. While vomiting, diarrhea, and being nauseous or "sick to your stomach" can sometimes be related to the flu - particularly in children - these problems are rarely the main symptoms of influenza. The flu is a respiratory disease and not a stomach or intestinal disease.
How flu spreads
The flu spreads in respiratory droplets caused by coughing and sneezing. It usually spreads from person to person, though occasionally a person may become infected by touching something with virus on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
A person who is infected can spread the flu to others beginning a day or more before getting symptoms, and up to 7 days after getting sick. That means that you can give someone the flu before you know you're sick as well as while you are sick.
Caution! Do not give aspirin to a child or teenager who has the flu
Never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms - and particularly fever - without first speaking to your doctor. Giving aspirin to children and teenagers who have influenza can cause a rare but serious illness called Reye syndrome. Children or teenagers with the flu should get plenty of rest, drink lots of liquids, and take medicines that contain no aspirin to relieve symptoms.