Colorado flu season has sent five people to the hospital already

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reports five hospitalized from H3N2 influenza. Vaccinations are available.

We are about to talk about one of the less than awesome aspects of fall, so before we start, look at this adorable pumpkin!

This incredibly aesthetic pumpkin. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
This incredibly aesthetic pumpkin. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Now, in other not so cheery fall news, the 2016-2017 flu season has begun. Here’s the outlook.

As of Oct. 2, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment began tracking influenza cases in Colorado.

So far this season, there have been five flu-related hospitalizations across the state, including one in Denver county. State Epidemiologist Lisa Miller said the strains to look out for are H3N2, of which there have already been two identified cases, and H1N1. They are not expected to circulate at the same time.

Both of these strains are swine-variant viruses, or viruses mutated from those found in pigs, and both have available vaccinations.

Since H3N2 tends to hit the elderly harder, Miller recommends vulnerable individuals receive vaccinations early.

Vaccinations are only known to be 50 to 60 percent effective in completely staving off the virus, but can reduce symptoms and likelihood of death should an individual fall ill.

Flu vaccinations are available from doctors and most pharmacies, including Albertson’s, CVS, Safeway and Walgreens.

Kaiser Permanente is one healthcare provider offering higher dose vaccinations for the elderly and immunocompromised individuals. These higher doses can result in increased antibodies against the flu, but research is still being conducted as to whether the vaccine is more effective for preventing the flu, according to the Center for Disease Control.

The CDC recommends those that have had negative reactions to the flu vaccination avoid high-dose vaccinations.

Multimedia business & healthcare reporter Chloe Aiello can be reached via email at caiello@denverite.com or twitter.com/chlobo_ilo.

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