DENVER (KDVR) — Since flu season started at the beginning of October, there have been 49 cases that required hospitalizations around the state. Pair that with a high number of RSV cases and it begins to put a heavy toll on hospital capacity.

Experts say we’re not exactly in the same situation we were in during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but doctors are urging everyone to do their part to keep flu and RSV cases down.

It has everything to do with how many hospital beds are or are not available at any given time.

“Let’s just try to minimize the amount of spread. It’s going to spread, but let’s minimize that if we can,” said Dr. Carrie Horn with National Jewish Health.

Hospital capacity threats loom this flu season

There could be a looming threat to hospitals and the number of people they can treat this coming flu season, according to Horn.

“If flu takes a big jump and RSV is high, that’s going to be tough on our healthcare system right now,” Horn said.

Right now the number of clinic visits with flu-like symptoms stands at 3.89% around the state, according to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. That’s higher than the baseline level of 2.8%.

Horn explained why we’re seeing more severe cases of the flu and other respiratory viruses.

“There’s no way to prove it, but we do think that the lack of exposure to our routine viruses from everybody staying home so much the last two years may be increasing the reaction people have when they are exposed to the viruses this time around,” Horn said.

How to avoid the flu, RSV and COVID-19

Keeping your hands clean and avoiding crowds are a couple of ways to avoid infection, and there’s always getting jabbed.

“Sometimes we would tell people, hey, September, October, is a little bit early for that flu vaccine because we want it to last all the way into April and May,” Horn said. “We’re there!”

Horn said even if you’ve already had the flu this season, it isn’t too late.

“So if you were waiting for that flu shot, now’s your time to get it,” Horn said.

Experts say it’s not a bad idea to consider wearing a mask, not in numbers like we saw during the pandemic, but it could be a good option for folks with other conditions, someone who might already have symptoms and can’t avoid being out or anyone trying to avoid infection.