Now that flu season has arrived in full force, it is important to keep ourselves and our families healthy. Since December 6, Colorado has been one of 29 states where the flu is widespread. Flu outbreaks have been reported at 34 long-term care facilities and one correctional facility in the last two weeks.

With holiday travel and people spending time with family and friends, we are more susceptible to catch and spread the flu. As of December 13, Colorado had 190 new flu hospitalizations, including one infant fatality. The 2014 flu season has hospitalized 510 people in 29 counties across the state so far.

Between 10/4/14 and 12/13/14, documented flu totals for the major counties where we treat patients from are as follows:

LARIMER:                            WELD:                                    YUMA:

H1N1: 0                                H1N1: 0                                  H1N1: 0

H3: 7                                     H3: 11                                    H3: 2

Type A: 20                            Type A: 15                             Type A: 0

Type B: 0                              Type B: 1                               Type B: 0

MORGAN:                             LOGAN:

H1N1: 0                                  H1N1: 0

H3: 4                                       H3: 0

Type A: 4                                Type A: 1

Type B: 0                                Type B: 0

Avoiding the flu can be difficult, however, a few things can help.

-The most important step to avoid the flu is to get a flu shot. Flu shots are available at most doctor offices and pharmacies.

-Wash your hands frequently.

-Continue daily nasal rinses. If you feel like you may be coming down with something, add an extra one or two to your daily routine

-Wear a mask if you are traveling and are concerned about people around you who may be sick. Bring bleach wipes to clean tray tables, seat belts, and more when traveling.

-If you have family in a long-term care facility where the flu has been reported, try to avoid going there. If you must go, wear a mask and wash your hands.

If you start to feel sick with the flu with nasal or breathing symptoms, contact your doctor. Following these steps can ensure a happy and healthy flu season!