Flu case confirmed in Mesa County

One person hospitalized last week, state Health Department reports

Mesa County had its first official flu-related hospitalization of the 2012-13 flu season last week, according to data released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Colorado’s flu season officially began in October but Mesa County had yet to report a positive flu test in a hospital patient until the week of Dec. 9-15, according to the CDPHE. The department recorded 160 flu-related hospitalizations in 17 counties between Oct. 7 and Dec. 15.

The most common strain of the flu among hospitalized patients in Colorado tested for influenza so far this season has been Type B, the type of flu detected last week in Mesa County’s flu-related hospitalization case.

Although just one flu-related hospitalization has been reported here, Mesa County Health Department spokeswoman Karen Martsolf said emergency rooms and physicians’ offices county-wide are reporting a recent increase in patients complaining of flu-like symptoms. Those symptoms include fever, chills, body aches, sore throat, watery eyes and a dry, hacking cough. Senior citizens and people with certain diseases are at heightened risk for complications from the flu, such as ear or sinus infections, pneumonia and bronchitis.

Even though flu activity is already on the rise and an influenza vaccine takes two weeks to develop maximum protection, Martsolf said the Health Department recommends people who have not already gotten a flu shot do so now. The peak month for flu activity has come after December in 80 percent of flu seasons since 1982-83, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. February has been the worst month for flu activity nationwide for 14 of the last 30 flu seasons.

Influenza vaccinations are available through physicians or the Mesa County Health Department and may be covered by insurance. Otherwise, flu shots cost $20 apiece at the Health Department or $25 for the nasal flu mist vaccination.

The Health Department at 510 29 1/2 Road offers walk-in flu vaccination clinics from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays and 8 a.m. to noon on Fridays. The Health Department’s Fruita office at 215 N. Plum St. offers walk-in flu vaccinations from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursdays. Call 248-6900 to schedule an appointment during a non-walk-in period.


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