Colorado has seen a recent spike in flu cases, with 572 people hospitalized across the state since the start of the flu season in early October, according to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. About 25 percent of those hospitalized were seniors over age 65, and 26 percent were children under 18.

In a release, the Tri-County Health Department said laboratory testing and outpatient visits indicate that we have entered a period of more intense influenza activity. 

Based on similar patterns from previous seasons, the Tri-County Health Department said influenza activity is expected to continue to escalate, with peak activity from now through February.

“Colorado and Georgia have been declared by the CDC to be the states currently at the highest flu risk, so one of the best things you can for your health as we start 2019 is to get a flu shot if you haven’t already gotten yours,” said John M. Douglas, Jr., MD, Executive Director of Tri-County Health Department, in a release. “People who are at higher risk of developing flu-related complications include children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with medical conditions or compromised immune systems. These people should be treated with medication when flu symptoms first begin.”

Flu symptoms include high fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, and fatigue. Some people may have nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, but this is more common in children than adults. 

Tri-County Health Department provides no-cost or low-cost flu vaccinations for those on Medicaid or who are uninsured at numerous clinics throughout Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas Counties. 

To find flu vaccines at retail outlets, visit www.vaccinefinder.org or speak with your healthcare provider. In addition to getting the vaccine, health experts recommend washing your hands often, covering your sneeze and cough, and staying home if you are sick.