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Health officials are making yet another push to make sure everyone gets their flu shot. Although flu vaccines are not ideal, they are the best way to prevent getting the flu.

UCHealth experts caution Coloradoans not to be fooled by the slow start to this flu season and encourage people to protect themselves.

"We've got to keep in mind that it's still very, very early, and even at this time a year ago, there hadn't been a huge amount of activity either", said Webby, a member of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital's Department of Infectious Diseases. Influenza B strain viruses, which have the same symptoms as A-strain viruses, are also circulating this season as usual, the CDC said. Others, though a significantly smaller percentage, simply do not have time to get vaccinated, while others find the vaccine too expensive.

UCHealth is taking extra precautions at its facilities across the state to protect patients and limit the spread of the flu virus. To be given first priority are those in certain medical risk groups, including pregnant woman and adults and children older than six months who have diseases or other medical conditions that would increase their risk of developing a severe influenza infection.

Flu season generally begins in the fall and lasts through March.

Fact: The flu vaccine reduces the risk of contracting and spreading the disease by up to 60 percent, according to the CDC.

Almost 12,000 of those deaths - about one in seven - occurred in Texas, which was hit particularly early and hard.

The most vulnerable, in a normal flu season, are the very young and the very old. What should they say to those who have fears that the shot will give them the flu?

An annual flu vaccination is the best way to prevent the flu and flu-related complications that could lead to hospitalization, and at times can lead to death. The other patient who died from the virus was between 50-years-old and 64-years-old. The vaccine's effectiveness also can vary depending on who is being vaccinated.

Seventy percent of Garden State seniors with a household income of $75,000 or more have received a flu shot versus 62 percent of those in households earning $35,000-$74,999, and 61 percent of those earning less than $35,000.

While a lot has changed since 1918, the flu still kills people every year.


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