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Flu season arrives, doctors start giving shots

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Sniffling, sneezing, and coughing. They are all symptoms of the common cold—and they are on the rise this time of year in metro Denver.

And, with flu season right around the corner, doctors say now’s the time to get ready.

Children’s Hospital Colorado diagnosed two cases of influenza B in the past two weeks.

Genevieve Blauwet is a healthy and obviously happy one-year-old.

But that smile will soon disappear.

Her dad, Jason, brought her to Partners in Pediatrics in Denver for a flu shot.

"For a child this young we would be worried about hospitalization. Since I work for Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, I prefer to take care of other people's sick children, than my own. So we're here to make sure she doesn't get the flu," says Jason Blauwet.

Doctors recommend everyone six months and older get a flu shot.

This even though last year’s flu season was especially mild.

"I don't want to give people false hope for that reason because sometimes then we'll have a particularly nasty season because a lot of people let their guard down, because they didn't think it was as big a nuisance as it commonly is," says Dr. Lisa Miller.

And it’s more than a nuisance for some.

The highly contagious virus sent an average of 1,200 Coloradans to the hospital each of the last three years, with three baby deaths in 2010 and 12 in 2009.

"We don't ever do any flu shots," says mom Julie Ebert.

She says she knows the risks, but prefers not to immunize her 8-year-old daughter, Megan.

"I honestly believe nutrition is the most important part of someone's immune system. And I'm not sure of the effectiveness of a flu shot," she says.

"A lot of people believe children get sick from flu vaccine but it's absolutely not true," says Blauwet.

But he knows it means temporary pain.

His blue-eyed baby might see red as she gets her flu shot, along with three other vaccinations.

"It hurts me more than it hurts her," says Genevieve’s dad.

A few painful pinches, but now protected.

This year’s vaccine will fight off three strains of influenza—and a return visit to the doctor.

Doctors also recommend people wipe down counter tops, phones and toys to prevent spreading the virus.

Also, avoid rubbing your eyes, nose and mouth.

And stay home if you’re sick. Wait 24 hours after your fever is gone to head out.

Learn more about Seasonal Flu here