As we say goodbye to summer in Colorado, we say hello to fall and all that comes with it - including the flu season.

Flu Season Came Early In the Southern Hemisphere

Typically the flu season starts around Thanksgiving and then peaks in December or January. This year things could be different according to Dr. Michelle Barron, senior medical director for infection prevention and control at UCHealth. Based on the pattern set in Australia, which was an earlier than normal flu season, Barron told the Denver Post that Colorado's flu season may begin to blossom in late October or early November.

Colorado Flu Season Could Be More Severe This Year

For the past couple of years, the flu season has been very mild in Colorado - in large part because people were masking up, limiting gatherings, and staying at home when having symptoms. With much less emphasis now on COVID-19 prevention, the flu season could very well bring numbers comparable to the 2019-2020 season when more than 3,500 people in Colorado were hospitalized with influenza.

While many people remain resistant to COVID-19 vaccines, there seems to be less stigma attached to flu vaccines, even though they are said to be less effective than COVID vaccines, reducing the odds of severe disease by 40% to 60%. Those people who are desiring the most protection possible can receive the new omicron COVID-19 booster and the seasonal flu shot at the same time.

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Get Immunization Information From Mesa County Public Health

Adults over 65 and children under 5 are the ones at the highest risk of severe illness from flu, Mesa County Public Health has a ton of information available concerning adult and child immunizations for a wide range of illnesses.

I'm not telling you to get a flu shot, but, it's my hope that regardless of whether or not you do, you will at least take some precautions during the upcoming season. If you are having cold or flu symptoms - don't take your potential sickness to work with you or to the grocery store. Mask up when being exposed to a large group of people, wash your hands frequently, and forego those traditional handshakes until next spring.

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