Flu season in full swing; get your flu shot, doctors say

DENVER -- Flu season is in full swing in Colorado and it's affecting the elderly population the most right now.

Hospitalization cases continue to be higher than last year around this time, according to the state health department. Sixteen people have been hospitalized from the flu so far this month, and 20 cases were reported in August. That's double the number of cases the state saw last year during that month.

Flu season starts in October and peaks in February.

"They're seeing both types, although the primary strand right now is the influenza A," said Dr. Winston Tripp, a medical director for the emergency department at St. Anthony Hospital.

Just because there's been an increased number of cases doesn't mean a more serious flu season will happen.

Tripp said medications to help stop the virus from replicating must be started within 24 to 48 hours from when the symptoms start. 

"When you feel that your symptoms are causing significant problems, then you need to get in as soon as possible," Tripp said. "I kind of liken it to, a cold is more of a nuisance, the flu you feel like somebody dropped the hammer on you."

Eating healthy to prevent getting sick can help, but Tripp encourages people to get a flu shot, especially if you're 50 and older.

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