The Mesa County Health Department says now is the time to get your flu shot as health care professionals brace for the inevitable outbreak.
Until now, officials with Primary Care Partners in Grand Junction have reported a relatively low number of flu cases, but with holiday travel ahead, they expect the sickness to come back with a vengeance after Christmas.
To prepare, the health department recommends getting your flu shot now because it can take up to two weeks for protection to fully kick in. Influenza can take up to six weeks to spread through a community.
You can get walk-in flu shots at the Grand Junction office (510 29 ½ Road) and the Fruita office (215 N. Plum). Call 970-248-6900 if you want to make an appointment.
You’ll pay $20 for the shot, and the flu nasal mist will be $25 if you pay at the time of service. The Mesa County Health Department can also bill Rocky Mountain Health Plans, Humana, Medicare part B, Railroad Medicare, Medicaid, and CNIC.
Know more about the symptoms
Knowing the signs of the flu can help you gauge when you need to stay home and quarantine yourself.
It starts with body aches, chills and a fever. You may get a dry cough, sore throat and watery eyes. Most people recover within one or two weeks.
Health department officials recommend staying home when you are sick, covering your mouth when you cough, and washing your hands regularly.
The flu is especially dangerous for people over 65 and children on chronic aspirin therapy. It can also endanger the lives of people with the following conditions: a weakened immune system; heart, lung and/or kidney disease; diabetes or other chronic diseases.
Complications such as sinus infections, ear infections, bronchitis and pneumonia can lead to death. When the flu combines with pneumonia, it is the sixth leading cause of death nationwide.