According to the CDC, it is not too late for a flu shot, even if you have already had the flu earlier in the season.
As flu season starts peaking in 2019, is it really too late for a flu shot? It is not too late to get your flu shot according to the Center For Disease Control. The CDC encourages people to still get a flu shot, even if you have already had the flu earlier this season. This year’s flu vaccination has been particularly effective against the most popular flu strains. According to healthline.com, “for children up to 17 years, the vaccine is estimated to be 61 percent effective. Approximately 24 percent of adults ages 50 and older have been protected by the shot. To compare, the vaccine was reported to be 36 percent effective at this time last year.”
Need to get a flu shot? Metro Urgent Care offers cheap flu shots for $25 (flat rate fee) at most of our Denver urgent care locations.
Flu season can last until about May 2019, so it is still necessary to take precautions in order to avoid contracting influenza. Another reason to get a flu vaccination even if you have already had the flu? You could have contracted one strain of the flu and not the other. For example, during the 2018-2019 influenza season, the H1N1 flu strain is less severe than the H3N2 strain. If you already had the H1N1 strain of the flu, you still want to protect yourself from the H3N2 strain.
A recent report for ILI (influenza like illness) from the CDC notes that Colorado is one of two states with moderate activity for the 2018-2019 flu season. Georgia and Louisiana were the only two states experiencing high ILI activity. Colorado and South Carolina were the two states experiencing moderate ILI activity. All other states reported low and minimal ILI activity. The report covers flu activity for the week of December 8, 2018. See the image below for reference.
A Look At National Flu-Related Activity Through December 1, 2018
What Does That Mean For Current Flu Activity In Colorado?
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the geographic spread of influenza activity in the state of Colorado is at the local level. As of the time of the most recent report, approximately 121 people have been hospitalized in Colorado during the 2018-2019 flu season. To date, the following activity and statistics have been reported (this information is from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment website).
Additional Information About Colorado Influenza Activity To Date:
49 additional influenza-associated hospitalizations were reported during the week ending December 8, 2018, bringing the total number of hospitalizations since the beginning of the 2018-19 season to 121.
ILI (Influenza-like illness) patient visits reported by outpatient clinics has increased from 4.5% to 4.9%. This includes data from Kaiser Permanente and Primary Care Partners clinics located in the North Central, Northeast, Northwest, South and South Central regions of Colorado.
Syndromic surveillance of influenza-like illness patient visits in emergency departments in the Denver-metro area increased from 2.06% to 2.37%. This is above the seasonal baseline level of 2.37%.
Sentinel hospital labs (21 of 23 reporting) tested 1,091 specimens and 58 (5.3%) were positive for influenza.
There has been 1 outbreak associated with influenza reported for the 2018-19 influenza season.
Mortality due to pneumonia and influenza in Colorado is below the U.S epidemic threshold and decreased from 4.7% to 4.4%. This is below the national level of 5.7%.
No influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported thus far.
Still Need To Get A Flu Shot?
Metro Urgent Care offers $45 flat rate flu shots at most clinics. Find an MUC location near you and call to confirm it is a location providing $25 flat rate flu shots. Learn more about avoiding the flu this year HERE.
Here’s What You Need To Know About The Flu This Year
As the 2019 flu season approaches Colorado, it is helpful to educate the public on key facts about influenza, commonly called “the flu.” While Metro Urgent Care offers flu prevention, flu testing and treatment, our team believes knowledge is power. Read on to discover some important facts about the flu or “influenza,” specifically in the Denver, Colorado area.
What is Influenza (Flu)?
According to the CDC, the “flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.”
Have you gotten your flu shot yet?
MUC offers $25 flu shots at our Denver walk-in medical clinics from 8am – 8pm seven days a week. Last year’s Colorado flu season was the worst in recorded history, so health officials are stressing the importance of getting vaccinated against the flu. Flu vaccines work by causing antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. The CDC says, “these antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.” While the flu vaccination is the best way to prevent against the flu, Colorado residents should wash hands thoroughly, avoid contagious persons, get plenty of sleep and stay hydrated.
Will The 2019 Flu Season Be Worse Than The 2018 Flu Season?
Unfortunately, it is too early in the season to make any predictions regarding the severity of the upcoming flu season. However, if the 2019 season is anything like last year’s, it could be one of the worst in history. According to the CDC, “the 2017-18 season was the first season to be classified as a high severity across all age groups.” Furthermore, the CDC website provided the following stats regarding the 2018 flu season- “During the 2017-2018 season, the percentage of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza was at or above the epidemic threshold for 16 consecutive weeks.” In layman’s terms, it’s estimated that over 80,000 people died from flu-related illnesses in the United States last year, which is the highest number in 40+ years. Unfortunately, last year’s flu season was responsible for a recorded 180 pediatric deaths, the highest to date (80% of these pediatric deaths occurred in children who did not receive a flu vaccination).
Who Should Get A Flu Shot?
Most people should get a flu shot. The CDC recommends everyone six months and older get a flu vaccination, provided they are healthy during the time they receive the shot. Those younger than 6 months of age, those with potential life-threatening allergies, or those with Guillain-Barré Syndrome should not get the flu shot. If you are unsure if you should or should not get a flu shot, contact MUC and speak with one of our licensed medical professionals.
When Should You Get Your Flu Shot?
Health professionals recommend getting a flu shot by the end of October or early November. It takes about two weeks for the antibodies to fully take effect, so getting a flu shot early in the season is ideal.
I Rarely Get Sick, So Why Get A Flu Shot?
While it is true that healthy individuals might not get the flu in any given year or over the span of a couple years, there are plenty of good reasons to still get vaccinated. Why? Infants, those with compromised immune systems, and the elderly might catch the flu from a non-vaccinated carrier, which could result in serious illness or even death.
Can’t I Still Catch The Flu If I Get A Flu Shot?
The CDC estimates that flu vaccination reduces the risk of the virus by about 40 to 60 percent. You might still catch the flu this year, yet it could be less severe if you have gotten a flu shot, which decreases your chances of pneumonia and hospitalization. He
How Long Are You Contagious With The Flu?
Those who are sick with the flu are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after their illness begins. Adults in good health might infect others beginning 1 day before their symptoms develop and up to 7 days after becoming sick. NPR compiled a short video about how long infected persons are contagious with the flu. Watch it below:
Do you need a flu shot, flu testing or flu treatment? Call, check-in online or walk in to any of our convenient Denver care clinics from 8am – 8pm seven days a week.
How To Protect You And Your Family From the 2018-2019 Flu Season
It’s flu season in Denver and you are are trying to protect yourself and your family from contracting it this year. Although the flu is generally active in the United States until about May, here is are some tips on avoiding it as a resident of Denver and its suburbs.
Be proactive when it comes to flu season. Even with millions of people taking flu shots, there are many millions more who refuse, forget, don’t bother, or don’t understand the importance of the shot. So every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 20% of the US population comes down with the flu. That means 1 in 5 people you know is carrying the virus – yikes! They are contagious from day one, and for five to ten days after they show symptoms.
When does flu Season start in Denver?
2018-2019 flu season is expected to run from late September 2018 through May 2019 . However, the flu season can start earlier and last longer depending on the year. In general, Denver’s flu season lasts 8-9 months every year. Here’s the kicker – the colder and wetter the climate, the longer the flu hangs around (sorry residents of Colorado).
What is the difference between a cold and the flu?
Since the flu and the common cold all share similar symptoms – coughing, eye fatigue, fever, general muscle pain, headaches, and overall discomfort – it is easy to assume you have one or the other. One of the most important things you can do when you or your family start feeling under the weather is to visit a Metro Urgent Care of Denver and get tested for the flu. The biggest differentiator is the timeline regarding the onset of symptoms. Flu symptoms usually arrive suddenly – one day you feel fine and the next you feel awful. In contrast, a common cold builds over a few days. Another telling symptom is fever, which serves as a key flu symptom not shared by early-stage colds.
Am I safe from the flu virus?
You may be thinking you are safe – you stay at home, you work in an isolated area, you seldom get sick, and you have never had the flu, but none of that matters. Maybe a loved one brings the virus home from work or school. Maybe you are subject to abnormal stress or have been working too long and hard, you miss some sleep. If for any reason your immune system is compromised (even a little), it can be an open door for you to get the flu.
Can A Good Night’s Sleep Really Help Prevent The Flu?
Studies have shown that sleep deprivation allows di-muramyl peptide, a protein, to accumulate in the spinal fluid. This peptide comes from bacteria in the body, suggesting that lack of sleep may enable bacterial growth. Di-muramyl peptides also cause fever. So if you are sleeping less than you should, you make it easier to catch the flu.
How Sugar Intake Affects Whether Your Body Can Fight The Flu
You are even more at risk if you take a sweet snack to boost your energy. We learned over forty years ago that vitamin C is used by white blood cells as part of their arsenal against viruses and bacteria. White blood cells, therefore, need to accumulate vitamin C – in fact, 50 times more vitamin C than normal cells. Now look at the ingredients of that sweet snack. How many kinds of glucose (aka: sugar) does it have? Oh, and they also list sugar separately. Since sugar and vitamin C have similar chemical structures, they compete for space in the cell. What regulates the entry of glucose into the cells is the same thing that regulates the entry of vitamin C. The more glucose in the blood, the less vitamin C that can squeeze into those cells. And diabetics especially need to pay close attention to their blood levels. Any reading over 120 reduces the phagocytic index by 75%. That means when you have high blood sugar, your struggling immune system cannot take in enough vitamin C to help fight the flu.
You have taken all the necessary precautions so you don’t get the flu. Or have you?
You are taking precautions this year more than ever, so you and your family don’t come down with the flu. You quit smoking because you know damaged lungs make you more susceptible to repertory infections. You are a hugging person, but you are avoiding people who like to hug and plant a kiss on your cheek. You are working out at home and avoiding the gym because you know flu germs are everywhere. You wash your hands correctly, often, and know that antibiotic gels help. You have locked the alcohol away for the next nine months. You have safely put the over-the-counter flu medication way in the back of the cabinet because you know that taking the medication too soon is ineffective and can actually increase your chances of catching the flu. So you should be good to go right? The truth is, all of the aforementioned preventatives are fantastic in reducing your chances of getting the flu. However, we highly recommend a flu shot to truly prevent your chances are getting it.
Quick Flu Shots For You And Your Family at Metro Urgent Care of Denver
If and when you do catch the flu (and without the shots, the odds are in favor you will), we will be happy to help you. Feel free to book an appointment by phone, walk in or book an appointment online. We would rather you were on a wellness and health program with regular physicals and immunizations, but we will see you when you are ill. If you are curious as to which location is closest to you, visit our location finder page, and select from one of our many convenient Denver Urgent Care locations below:
Health Warning! We love you, Colorado. And that also means we want you to take care of yourself. We’ve seen a heavy uptick in patients with the flu and it turns out, we’re not the only ones. Influenza is making its way across the U.S. this month as record low temperatures are here to stay.
It’s a long season and we have yet to see the extent of this year’s flu numbers. However, we’ve heard that more than 36 states have already reported increased numbers compared to that of past years. With a flu shot, you’re reducing your risk of illness by as much as 75%.
Historically, we’ve seen the peak of flu season in February. Which means that it’s starting early and it may be a tough year for all of us. Please please please take care of yourself and get your flu shots. If not for yourself, do it for your family because this nasty virus can spread in an instant.