First influenza hospitalization of 2012 in Mesa County

A child has become the first Mesa County resident to be hospitalized with influenza in 2012.

The Mesa County Health Department reported the hospitalization Wednesday. It was the first hospitalization of a person with influenza in the county since an adult was hospitalized with the flu in early October.

Mesa County Health Department Director Jeff Kuhr said in a news release flu season usually peaks in February.

“So far we’ve had very little influenza activity, which is not an indication that our overall flu season will be mild. It’s always possible that our peak will occur later than usual. It is very important to practice good health habits by following some simple steps to prevent respiratory illnesses, including influenza,” Kuhr said.

Influenza vaccines are available at local pharmacies and medical offices and at the Health Department offices in Grand Junction and Fruita. No appointments are necessary to get a flu vaccine between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesdays at the Health Department office at 510 29 1/2 Road or from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays at the Health Department office at 215 N. Plum St. in Fruita To schedule an appointment for another time, call 248-6900.

Flu shots cost $15, and nasal-mist vaccines for influenza cost $20 through the Health Department.

Other ways to limit contracting the flu include washing your hands, staying away from people with the flu and preventing the spread of germs by refraining from touching your eyes, nose and mouth, according to the Health Department. People with the flu should cover their mouths and noses when they cough or sneeze and stay home while they are sick.

It takes most people one to two weeks to fully recover from the flu, the Health Department said. Symptoms include a dry, hacking cough, sore throat and watery eyes. The flu often begins with a fever, chills and/or aching muscles.

Flu complications can include asthma attacks in people with asthma, sinus and ear infections, pneumonia and bronchitis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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