Flu still making Coloradans miserable

DENVER — The nasty flu bug is still taking a bite out of a lot of Coloradans.

The Colorado Department of Health says 70 more people were hospitalized last week, bringing the total to 937 in 41 counties.

The average is about 750 hospitalizations. But the numbers are still considerably below the record of 2,000 hospitalizations.

Doctors say it’s not too late to get a flu shot—but some people say no way to the vaccine.

“I woke up that morning and felt fabulous, had a good night’s sleep, and got a flu shot before I went into work,” says Carisa Scott.

She couldn’t have imagined how this dose of flu prevention could prevent her from working.

“And (I was) probably at work maybe an hour and I started feeling, ‘Oh, I don’t feel so good. I wonder if I’m starting to get the flu, and I got my flu shot too late?’” questioned Scott.

She immediately went home and slept for two days.

“Probably number one, is they’re afraid they’re going to get sick,” says Dr. Rafer Leach of Guardian Urgent Care.

Dr. Leach says that’s the biggest reason people won’t get flu shots.

But he says it’s not true.

“The organism is not active, you cannot get active influenza with a killed viral vaccine,” he says.

He says the vaccine does jump start your immune system, creating antibodies to fight the virus antigens that invade the body as a result.

“That stimulates the body considerably and you can get systemic reactions, like fatigue, muscle soreness, maybe fever, headaches,” he says.

Dr. Leach says those side effects are still much less severe than getting the full-blown flu.

He didn’t treat Scott and can’t explain her sudden illness.

But he doesn’t believe the flu vaccine caused it. He firmly believes in its safety and effectiveness.

“I’ve gotten a shot, my wife has, my kids,” he says.

“I really feel like it was the flu shot because I felt fine beforehand.”

And while she was fine two days later, she’s a little wary about fighting off the flu this way in the future.

“Now that I felt so ill afterwards, I will really think twice,” she says.

Doctors say we still likely have another month of the peak flu season. So besides getting a flu shot, they recommend washing your hands regularly and using hand sanitizer.

LINK – More steps to avoid getting the flu
LINK – Foods that help fight the flu