Seasonal flu is a form of influenza ("the flu") that occurs yearly. It is a contagious respiratory disease caused by an influenza virus. Flu can show up as a mild illness or can result in complications that are serious and debilitating. Complications of seasonal flu can result in serious illness and thousands of deaths per year in the U.S.
You are encouraged to get your seasonal flu vaccine as soon as possible. According to the CDC the seasonal flu vaccine provides protection for at least one year following vaccination. Immunity from a flu vaccine received in September is expected to last the entire flu season.
Flu vaccination information (2019-2020)
Children from 6 months through 18 years old: $15.00
19 and older, $25.00
The best time to receive a flu vaccination is from September through January. However, it is not too late to receive a flu vaccination as late as February or March since flu can continue into spring. Persons at high risk for complications of the flu should try to receive the shot by November (see below).
We accept Medicaid and payments by cash, check, or credit cards.
Where can I get vaccinated for seasonal flu?
If you are using the Health Department for your flu vaccination, you can receive your vaccine at the following clinic sites:
Las Animas County Health Department
412 Benedicta Ave
Trinidad, CO 81082
Huerfano County Health Department
119 E. 5th Street
Walsenburg, CO 81082
Who should get a seasonal flu vaccination?
Flu vaccine is recommended for anyone over 6 months old. Heightened importance for:
- Anyone over 65 years old
- All children who are at least 6 months old through 18 years old
- women who are pregnant or intend to be pregnant during flu season
- All healthcare workers
- Any adult or child with a chronic illness like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, muscle or nervous system disease, immune system problems, blood disease
- Adults and children with spinal cord injuries, seizure disorders, or other condition that might affect respiratory functions or swallowing
- Anyone who lives in a nursing home
- Any child over 6 months and under 18 years who takes aspirin regularly
- Anyone who is a household member or caretaker of a person at high risk for flu complications
Flu vaccine is strongly encouraged for:
- People who provide essential community services
- People who live in close quarters with many other people, such as dormitories and other residential groups
- Anyone who want to reduce the risk of getting flu this year.
- People who are traveling to the tropics at any time of year, or to the southern hemisphere from September to April.
Who should not get a flu shot:
- People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination in the past
- People who developed Guillain-Barre syndrome within six weeks of getting an influenza vaccine
- Children less than six months old
- People who are sick with a fever (once symptoms are over, you can get vaccinated)
More facts about seasonal flu vaccination
- 2019-20 Inactivated influenza vaccine - What you need to know –
- The nasal spray vaccination is made from a live, but weakened, virus and it is sprayed into the nostrils. It is recommended for healthy children and adults from 2 - 49 years old. It is not recommended for people with chronic health problems, people with severely weakened immune systems, pregnant women, children under 2 or adults over 50.
- 2019-20 Live, attenuated influenza vaccine - LAIV (nasal spray) - What you need to know -
- The flu shot you received last year will not protect you this year.
- There are two ways to get flu vaccine: a flu shot or a nasal spray.
- The risks associated with both vaccinations are extremely small. The risks associated with getting the flu while unvaccinated are higher.
- The "flu shot" is an inactivated virus that is given through an injection. It has been used for many years.
- People who have ever had a serious allergic reaction to eggs or influenza vaccine in the past should consult their physicians before getting vaccinated.
- The best time to be immunized against annual flu is as early as possible after vaccine supplies are available (September). It is best to receive your vaccination as early as possible to provide a longer period of protection. But, it is not too late to receive your flu shot as late as January or even in February if flu is still circulating.
- Flu season usually peaks in February, but cases can occur as late as May.
Facts about seasonal influenza
Symptoms of the flu
The flu attacks the nose, throat and lungs, but is different from a cold. Influenza usually comes on suddenly and may include fever, headache, extreme fatigue, dry cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches which are sometimes severe.
Complications of the flu
Complications caused by the flu can result in very serious extended illness or even death in weakened individuals. Complications include bacterial pneumonia, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions such as heart problems, asthma or diabetes. Children may get sinus problems and ear infections. Each year, more than 200,000 people may be hospitalized from complications of the flu. Many thousands of people die each year from these complications.
How to Know if You Have the Flu
Your respiratory illness might be the flu if you have sudden onset of body aches, fever, and respiratory symptoms, and your illness occurs during November through April (the usual flu season in the Northern Hemisphere). However, during this time, other respiratory illnesses can cause similar symptoms and flu can be caught at any time of the year. It is impossible to tell for sure if you have the flu based on symptoms alone. Doctors can perform tests to see if you have the flu if you are in the first few days of your illness.
The myth of the "stomach flu"
Many people use the term "stomach flu" to describe illnesses with nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. These symptoms can be caused by many different viruses, bacteria, or even parasites. While vomiting, diarrhea, and being nauseous or "sick to your stomach" can sometimes be related to the flu - particularly in children - these problems are rarely the main symptoms of influenza. The flu is a respiratory disease and not a stomach or intestinal disease.
How flu spreads
The flu spreads in respiratory droplets caused by coughing and sneezing. It usually spreads from person to person, though occasionally a person may become infected by touching something with virus on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
A person who is infected can spread the flu to others beginning a day or more before getting symptoms, and up to 7 days after getting sick. That means that you can give someone the flu before you know you're sick as well as while you are sick.
Four simple steps to prevent getting the flu
- Get your flu vaccination!
Receiving an annual flu vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and those close to you. Your flu vaccination from last year will not protect you from the flu this year. You must receive a flu vaccination yearly since the virus changes from year to year. This year's vaccine is made to work against the flu strains that are most likely to circulate this year.
- Wash your hands!
Flu virus is spread by droplets from the nose and throat. The virus can stay alive on surfaces such as door handles, desks, faucets, and shared towels. Wash your hands often throughout the day with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand wash.
- Cover your sneezes and coughs!
Cough and sneeze into your elbow rather than into your hands. Discard used tissues in the trash. Again, wash your hands after coughing, sneezing, and handling used tissue.
- Stay home from work when you are sick!
It is not admirable for you to show up for work when you have the flu. You are doing nobody a favor. You are merely spreading your illness to your co-workers.
It's always important to practice healthy lifestyle habits to keep your body strong and ready to fight disease at all times. Healthy eating, exercise, quitting smoking, having a yearly check-up and staying current on your immunizations can go a long way toward keeping you healthy.
What To Do If You Get The Flu
- Stay home away from work, school or errands. This prevents spreading the illness to others
- Drink plenty of liquids
- Avoid using alcohol and tobacco
- Take medication to relieve the symptoms of flu (pain relievers and fever reducers). Influenza is caused by a virus, so antibiotics (like penicillin) don't cure it.
Caution! Do not give aspirin to a child or teenager who has the flu
Never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms - and particularly fever - without first speaking to your doctor. Giving aspirin to children and teenagers who have influenza can cause a rare but serious illness called Reye syndrome. Children or teenagers with the flu should get plenty of rest, drink lots of liquids, and take medicines that contain no aspirin to relieve symptoms.
- Questions and Answers about the flu
- Centers for Disease Control
- Families Fighting Flu
- Say Boo to the Flu - for families with young children
- Colorado Flu Website
- Local information
- Mayo Clinic
Forms and Resources
Flu Information Sheet - English
Flu Information Sheet - Spanish
Live, Intranasal Influenza Vaccine Brochure - English
Live, Intranasal Influenza Vaccine Brochure - Spanish