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Jan 9, 2013 7:53 PM by Matt Stafford

STATE: Flu hospitalizations climbing fast this season

It's a familiar scene for many right now; the waiting room. Many people are waiting for the results of a flu test.

Flu season typically runs from about October to May. Last year the flu put 543 people into Colorado hospitals, according to the Department of Public Health and Environment. This year we're already up to 503 hospitalizations, and there are still nearly five months left in the flu season.

So far, 56 hospitalizations have been in El Paso County; Pueblo has had 15. One woman from Pueblo died after getting developing pneumonia too. Denver County has had the most at 125 hospitalizations.

However, not everyone with the flu ends up in the hospital; most are in and out of clinics, and they've been busy.

"We've seen a spike over the past two weeks," says Dr. Mark Carroll with Alliance Urgent Care and Family Practice in Colorado Springs. Mostly the upper respiratory variety of flu, according to Dr. Carroll: not as much involving the stomach.

Dr. Carroll and Alliance Urgent Care and Family Practice strongly recommends getting the flu vaccine.

"We've only had one case that we've been able to confirm here with a nasal swab that had the vaccine and then developed the flu," says Dr. Carroll.

He cant stress enough prevention is key, and washing your hands is a huge start. Another piece of advice from Dr. Carroll is to get checked out as soon as you start experiencing flu-like symptoms; he says flu medicines lose effect after the first 48 hours.

 

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