This time last year, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment at least 210 individuals had been hospitalized due to influenza. This year the number has dropped to 37 cases, so far.
UCHealth experts caution Coloradoans not to be fooled by the slow start to this flu season and encourage people to protect themselves.
“We are expecting to start seeing more cases of the flu in the coming weeks as people are around more people than usual for holiday shopping, gatherings and travel,” according to Dr. Jean Kutner, chief medical officer at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital. “The absolute best way to protect yourself and others from the flu is to get vaccinated.”
In addition to vaccination, other ways to protect yourself and others from getting sick include washing your hands frequently, covering your cough and sneeze and by staying home if you feel ill.
Although these are all good practices, UCHealth has instituted these additional restrictions to visitors in order to protect their patients:
- All visitors with flu-like symptoms will be required to wear a mask in all areas of UCHealth hospitals and clinics.
- Visitors with flu symptoms and visitors younger than 12 years of age are prohibited from visiting these high-risk areas: all intensive care units, oncology inpatient floors and pediatric units.
- Restrictions also apply to other units where intensive-care unit and oncology patients are being treated.
These methods are set in place to protect the most vulnerable, who tend to be the very young, the very old and those with compromised health situations.
“The flu should not be taken lightly. It can be deadly,” said Dr. Patricia Gill, an infectious disease physician at UCHealth Longs Peak Hospital. “Some of our patients could be especially vulnerable to the flu virus, so it’s important to take measures to prevent the spread of the virus as much as possible in all of our facilities.”
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