By Dillon Thomas
DENVER, Colo. (CBS4) – With Colorado and Georgia ranked as the states with the most flu cases reported this year, local urgent care facilities, doctor’s offices and pharmacies have been rushed with patients seeking health assistance. Hundreds of Coloradans have already been hospitalized due to the spike in cases with more frequently visiting local healthcare professionals.
Valerie Zanon-Wieland, a Denver resident, was one of the many who visited a local urgent care after falling ill.
“I am a relatively healthy individual. So, that is what is so shocking, that it has knocked me off my feet,” Zanon-Wieland said. “It came on really quickly. A lot of body aches, fever. I just couldn’t stay warm.”
Zanon-Wieland told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas she was shocked by how many people were waiting to be seen Friday morning when she visited the urgent care.
“When I walked out, I was shocked to see it was packed. The waiting area in the urgent care was full with people,” Zanon-Wieland said. “I’m wondering, ‘Why us? Why Colorado? What makes us unique?’”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Colorado and Georgia were the only two states in the country that tested for very high levels of flu cases.
Zanon-Wieland said her local pharmacist said, in the past two weeks, they have seen an increase in demand for the Tamiflu prescription, and other flu-aiding medications. As a recipient of the flu shot earlier in the year, she was told her symptoms were mild, compared to what they likely would have been if she did not receive the shot.
“I can’t imagine how I would be doing if i didn’t have my flu shot,” Zanon-Williams said.
Medical professionals say there should not be a fear of the flu shot. While many speculate that the shot can cause one to fall ill to the virus, CBS News medical expert Jon LaPook said it is scientifically impossible for the virus to spread through a flu shot.
“Of the 185 kids who died of the flu (in 2017), 80 percent of them did not get the flu shot,” LaPook said.
Doctors say flu season could last through March. Those who have not received their flu shot were encouraged to do so soon, as the shot takes around two weeks to be effective.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.