Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at higher risk of serious flu complications. The influenza viruses that routinely spread in people (human influenza viruses) are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year.
Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly, and can cause some or all of the following symptoms:
- Fever (not everyone will get a fever)
- Sore throat
- Runny/stuffy nose
- Muscle aches
- Sometime vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children)
The best way to reduce the risk of flu and its potentially serious complications is by getting vaccinated each year. Annual flu vaccination is recommended for every person aged 6 months and older.
- The single best way to protect against the flu is to get a flu shot each year. An annual flu shot can reduce illnesses in the community, decrease the time missed at work and school, and prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.
- Flu vaccine can be given at the same time as COVID-19 vaccine
- Most pharmacies and doctor’s offices offer flu vaccine
- Cover your cough or sneeze - and wash your hands afterward
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth - germs spread this way
- Wash hands often, using soap and water for 15-20 seconds, or an alcohol-based hand gel if soap and water are unavailable
- If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home and limit contact with others, except to get medical care
- Avoid people who are sick if possible
- If you are ill with flu-like symptoms, contact your provider. You may be able to receive treatment that will reduce your flu symptoms and duration.
Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a highly contagious disease that can be deadly for babies. Whooping cough can cause uncontrollable, violent coughing, which often makes it hard to breathe. Its “whooping” name comes from the sharp breath intake sound right after a coughing fit. In babies, this disease also can cause life-threatening pauses in breathing with no cough at all. Whooping cough is especially dangerous to babies who are too young to be vaccinated themselves. Mothers should get the whooping cough vaccine during each pregnancy to pass some protection to their babies before birth. It is very important for a baby to get the whooping cough vaccine on time so they can start building their own protection against the disease.
Cases of whooping cough are reported in Colorado every year. If you or your child gets whooping cough, you may be required to stay out of school and be restricted from travel for at least 5 days. Since 2010, between 15,000 and 50,000 cases of whooping cough have been reported yearly in the United States.
Doctors recommend that your child get five doses of the DTaP vaccine. Your child will need one dose at each of the following ages:
Chickenpox is a disease that causes an itchy rash of blisters and a fever. Chickenpox can be serious and even life-threatening, especially in babies, adults, and people with weakened immune systems. Even healthy children can get really sick. Vaccinating kids at an early age is especially important to keep your children healthy.
Doctors recommend that your child get two chickenpox shots. Your child will need one dose at each of the following ages:
Measles is very contagious, and can be serious, especially for young children. You can get measles just by being in a room where a person with measles has been, up to two hours after that person has left. Because measles is common in other parts of the world, unvaccinated people can get measles while traveling and bring it into the United States. Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk.
Doctors recommend that your child get two doses of the MMR vaccine. Your child will need one dose at each of the following ages:
Mumps is best known for causing puffy cheeks and a swollen jaw. This is due to swelling of the salivary glands. Other symptoms include fever, head and muscle aches, and tiredness. Mumps is a contagious disease and there is no treatment. Mumps is still a threat today—every year, people in the United States get mumps. In recent years, mumps outbreaks have occurred in Colorado schools. If your child is exposed to mumps but not vaccinated, they may be required to stay out of school for a month or more. The MMR vaccine protects you and your family against mumps, measles, and rubella.
Doctors recommend that your child get two doses of the MMR shot Your child will need one dose at each of the following ages: