DENVER (KDVR) – The Centers for Disease Control says hospitalizations might be higher this year for respiratory viruses.
“(We) are really working hard to make sure all of our staff are vaccinated in a timely manner,” Dr. Carrie Horn said.
Horn is the chief medical officer at National Jewish Health and told FOX31 her staff is getting prepped for the flu season.
“Is there still a good supply of oral medications for flu or oral medications for COVID?” Horn said, describing one step to prepare for the season.
Hospitalizations are not expected to take a severe spike for extreme cases of the flu in the area, but Horn said they are ready at NJH.
“If hospitalizations do go up,” Horn said, “do we have the nurse staffing and the support staffing to be able to take care of all of those patients?”
That is how healthcare workers are getting ready in the metro area.
Horn explained just how one might need to be hospitalized for flu-related symptoms.
“The most common one is that there’s enough inflammation going on in the lungs that their oxygen levels go down,” Horn said.
Another way one might need to be hospitalized for the flu is having a pre-existing condition.
“If they have, say underlying heart disease or diabetes and the inflammation can cause worsening of things like that,” Horn said.
About the outlook for flu in our area, Horn said it could go either way.
“I don’t think we know exactly what we’re going to see this winter,” Horn said.
The best way to avoid a worst case scenario, Horn said, is to get your vaccines for the flu, and COVID-19. And for the first time, there is an RSV vaccine available for people 60 and older.
That is a hard sell for some people, but Horn maintains it is important for folks more vulnerable than others.
“This won’t totally keep you from getting infected,” Horn said, “but I really want to keep you out of the hospital, and I really want to try to minimize any sort of long term bad things that could happen from having had that infection.”
The flu spreads through droplets and Horn said it can survive on surfaces for several hours.
Always an important reminder to wash your hands and cover your coughs and sneezes.