A total of 174 flu hospitalizations have been reported since Oct. 1, 2017. This exceeds the 168 reported hospitalizations during the 2016-17 flu season, which was a notably high year for flu hospitalizations in Mesa County. Residents should get a flu immunization to reduce the risk of costly hospitalizations and to prevent the spread of illness in our community.

“Although the flu immunization for this season is only 36 percent effective against fighting the flu, it’s proven to reduce the severity of symptoms related to flu. It’s your best bet for staying out of the hospital,” Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) Epidemiology Program Manager Heidi Dragoo said. “Flu season runs through the beginning of June, so there’s still time to get your flu immunization and for it to make a difference.”

The MCPH Clinic, 510 29 ½ Road, is offering flu immunization by walk-in during regular business hours – Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon. Residents are encouraged to bring their insurance card if they have one, but cost won’t be a barrier in the absence of insurance.

On average, a flu hospitalization stay can cost $6,900 and that doesn’t include time off of work, lost wages or other out-of-pocket expenses.

“Hospital stays can be so burdensome on families. We want to help Mesa County residents prevent that from happening, so we’re doing everything we can to make immunization easy, available and accessible to our residents,” MCPH Executive Director Jeff Kuhr said.

Residents can also help prevent the spread of flu by staying home when sick, keeping kids home from school or child care when sick and by practicing good handwashing.