GREELEY, Colo. (CBS4)– The flu is spreading rapidly across the country and 41 states including Colorado are reporting widespread flu action.
That has the flu vaccine in high demand. There are some shortages in some parts of the U.S. but the supply is good in Colorado.
Some hospitals are reporting their emergency rooms are filled with those who have flu-like symptoms.
“They took me to the emergency room, the ambulance did,” said flu patient Betty Thomas.
Thomas, 78, of Greeley said she felt nauseous and off balance and decided to see her doctor who confirmed it was the flu.
“I was surprised when they told me it was the flu,” said Thomas.
Thomas was surprised because she had received the flu vaccination.
The flu virus that is infecting millions across the country this flu season is especially virulent.
“We have no explanation as to why this year’s flu epidemic is so much more severe and prevalent than last year,” said Dr. John Breen with North Colorado Medical Center.
Breen said traffic in the emergency room is up considerably, “We have 21 patients who are in our hospital with the diagnosis of flu with a variety of complications in addition.”
In Colorado there have already been 506 hospitalizations this flu season.
Doctors said the best way to protect yourself is to get a flu shot or nasal spray.
The vaccine is so popular that they are running low at Kaiser-Permanente locations along the Front Range.
“We had a temporary shortage waiting for our new shipment to come in. We’ve received our new shipment and starting this afternoon we will continue our walk-in flu immunizations at any of our 26 Kaiser facilities,” said Kaiser-Permanente spokeswoman Dr. Michelle Galsgow.
“The flu shot is very effective. It prevents patients from becoming sick with influenza. If they do become infected with the disease it is much milder than if they had not gotten the flu vaccine,” said Breen.
Thomas said she’s on the road to recovery,”Today I feel pretty good for the first time.”