The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and San Juan Basin Public Health urge Coloradans ages 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine, ideally before the end of October. Yearly flu vaccines are the first and most important step in protecting against influenza disease, especially for people 65 years and older, children younger than 5 years, pregnant women, and those with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease) who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications.
Flu is among the most common respiratory illnesses in the United States, infecting millions of people every flu season. During last year's flu season, 4,650 Coloradans were hospitalized with flu and one child died. This is the highest number of hospitalizations recorded for a flu season in Colorado. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctor visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending the nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine) as an option in the 2018-2019 season. The nasal spray is approved for use in non-pregnant individuals from 2 to 49 years of age.
There is a precaution against the use of LAIV for people with certain underlying conditions.
The CDC and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommend pregnant women get a flu vaccine shot (not nasal spray) during any trimester of their pregnancy. Flu poses a danger to pregnant women and a flu vaccine can prevent influenza in pregnant women.
In addition to getting a seasonal flu vaccine, everyday preventive actions include staying away from sick people and washing hands to reduce the spread of germs. Those who are sick should stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others.
SJBPH encourages residents to receive their immunizations in their medical home with their primary care provider. Flu shots are a preventive care benefit for both children and adults covered under the Affordable Care Act, and for most people the immunization will be free. For more information, visit https://www.healthcare.gov/what-are-my-preventive-care-benefits/.
SJBPH has a limited supply of specialized flu vaccine, including high-dose flu shots for seniors and preservative free vaccine for pregnant women. Additionally, SJBPH can provide flu shots for eligible children and adults who qualify for federally supported vaccines if they are unable to receive them from their primary care provider.
Call 247-5702 to schedule an appointment at the SJBPH Durango office or 264-2409 for an appointment at the SJBPH Pagosa Springs office.