As the number of reported flu cases in Larimer County increases, public health officials say there’s still time to get vaccinated against the disease.
Getting a flu shot is the best protection against the contagious respiratory illness. Flu patients typically suffer coughs, sore throats, fevers and chills, runny or stuffy noses, muscle aches and fatigue.
Although a vaccinated person can still get sick with flu, their illness would likely be shorter and less severe than for a person who is not vaccinated, officials say.
Sooner is better for getting a vaccination this flu season, said Dr. Chris Nevin-Woods, medical director for the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, in a news release.
“It takes about two weeks for someone to be protected from the flu after their vaccination, so it’s important to get it now,” Nevin-Woods said.
Flu cases are expected to increase as people travel this time of year and influenza viruses spread across the country.
Flu shots are available on a walk-in basis at most pharmacies and doctor’s offices, said Katie O’Donnell, community relations and public information supervisor for the county health department.
People who are uninsured, underinsured or Medicaid insured may make an appointment at any health department location to get a flu shot, O’Donnell said.
People who are sick are advised to stay home to avoid spreading the flu through the community. Residents should wash their hands often and cover coughs and sneezes.
For more information on flu, visit larimer.org/flu.
How to tell if you might have the flu
Symptoms of flu usually start suddenly rather than gradually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms include:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills (not everyone with the flu will have a fever)
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Body and muscle aches
- Vomiting and diarrhea (This is more common in young children than adults.)
Kevin Duggan is a senior columnist and reporter.
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