Thanksgiving is a little more than weeks away, and the December holidays are closing in. The state health department reminds Coloradans to protect themselves and their loved ones by getting a flu vaccination. It takes about two weeks after getting a vaccine for a person to build immunity against the flu.
"Active germs love crowded places such as family reunions, malls and airports," said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, director of the Disease Control and Environmental Epidemiology Division at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. "You can help stop flu germs in their tracks by getting a vaccine now."
Everyone over the age of six months should get a flu vaccine. People at high risk of serious complications from seasonal influenza include people 65 years and older, children younger than 5, pregnant women, and people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions.
"Flu season typically peaks in January after holiday celebrations," Herlihy said. "But flu already is circulating in our communities, so the sooner you get immunized, the better."
Last year, the flu sent 1,639 Coloradans to the hospital. So far this year, eight have been hospitalized.
In addition to the vaccine, during holiday get-togethers, remember to take everyday actions to stop germs from spreading:
* Avoid close contact with sick people.
* If you are sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.
* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
* Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
* Disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated.
For more information about flu vaccinations and clinics in Prowers County or Kiowa County call 719-336-8721.