We have some good news and some bad news about the flu season in Colorado. The good news is it's been a relatively slow flu season. Through late November there have only been 32 people hospitalized for the flu, and only 8 of those have been in El Paso county. The bad news according to Dr. Ian Tullberg, Urgent Care Medical Director with UCHealth Memorial is that we can't just focus on the good news.
"It's going slowly actually, (so far) which could be a good thing, hopefully. Last year we had an end of the year boost of flu, that lasted for sometime but so far we are off to a pretty slow start. We have only had one positive test in this clinic and we have tested a lot of people."
We are also seeing the early trend of a slow flu season across the United States. However, Dr. Tullberg stresses that if you haven't had your flu shot yet, that doesn't mean it's to skip it this year.
"Please get the flu shot, everyone should still get it. It's a good thing to get for the next month or two, so if you haven't gotten it yet it's not too late and we are absolutely stressing to get it."
Just in case you need them again, here are the warning signs and symptoms to look for when it comes to the flu.
"One question I ask everyone that comes in, is do you feel like you were just hit by a car? Those that test positive for the flu generally say yes, so you have horrible body aches. You can get GI symptoms, a little nausea, diarrhea and vomiting as well. But the big ones are respiratory illness, cough, fever ,really bad chills, body aches, those are some the big things to look out for."
Dr. Tullberg also says besides the flu shot, your best defense against disease is frequent hand washing. If you are feeling bad, don’t let the fact that flu season is off to a slow start keep you away from the doctor’s office or the Urgent Care.
"Still get it checked out. There could be other things going on, possible pneumonia, it could be the flu or a viral illness, and there are other nasty bugs that could be out there that we can help with, but many times it will be a virus."
Dr. Tullberg also says you can also wear a mask around people who are coughing or sneezing. You won't get win high marks for fashion, but you may say yourself a week in bed.