Health Dept.: Flu cases "getting worse" in Mesa Co.

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While the flu sweeps the nation, health officials in Mesa County are preparing for what's ahead.

"We're just at the uphill portion of this curve so we don't know where it's going to end up, but so far indications are that we're going to be higher than normal," said Mesa County Health Dept. Executive Director Jeff Kuhr. "We just don't know how bad it's going to be."

So far, 15 people have been hospitalized due to the flu in Mesa County.

"It's getting worse and it's higher than what we'd normally see this time of year," Kuhr said.

His concern is exposure, since only about 35 percent of residents have gotten their flu shot. He said the Health Dept. ran out of its original order of the flu vaccine, and has another shipment on its way.

It can be difficult to decipher between the flu and the common cold because the symptoms of cough, runny nose and headaches can be similar.

"Typically the flu comes on much faster and is accompanied with a higher fever than your typical cold virus, as well as the body aches which are usually the distinguishing thing people talk about," said Debbie Riggle, VP of Ancillary Services at Community Hospital.

Riggle said Community Hospital has negative pressure rooms prepared for contagious patients who come in with the flu. Those rooms keep air inside the room and prevent it from leaking into the hallway when the door is opened.

The Center for Disease Control will be releasing the number of flu-related fatalities so far this flu season, tomorrow.

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