Ok, I know it’s easy to forget in lieu of the holidays and whatnot, but it’s flu season and it’s not being kind to Colorado. In fact, we’ve seen a pretty big spike in flu episodes all throughout the state, landing 572 people in the hospital since October. Of those, about 50% were seniors aged over 65 and kids under 18. It’s like Luke Skywalker and the Death Star, except we’re the Death Star and Fluke Skywalker is hitting us where we’re weakest.

We’re not out of the woods yet, either. In this recent story by 9 News, the Tri-County Health Department reported that we’re actually entering a period where influenza activity is even more hard-core than before. And it’s only supposed to escalate, with activity really peaking in February. So, we have… what, two months to wear rubber gloves under our other gloves and drink hand sanitizer like water (no, no, please don’t do that, that feels counterproductive)?

Although, this bout of illness does give us one thing—even if the Broncos failed, we’re still winning at something. According to the CDC, Colorado and Georgia currently have the highest flu-risk. So… yay us? But that just begs the question: What can we do? Because I’m sure none of you would rather being down-and-out with the flu when you could be out and about, purchasing the Valentine’s chocolate we all know is coming.

For starters, suck it up and go get a flu shot. Trust me, I know, needles are the worst, but just close your eyes, count rainbow unicorns in your head, and by then the nice nurse will probably have already done the deed and may even send you off with a lollipop. At least, if I were a nurse I would send everyone off with a lollipop. Tri-County Health Department actually provides no-cost or low-cost flu vaccinations for anyone on Medicaid or who are uninsured throughout Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas Counties. You can also go to https://vaccinefinder.org/ to find flu vaccines in stores. In addition, you should also wash your hands regularly, cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze and cough, and last but not least—please, please stay home when you’re sick. Go on, take the time to watch Bandersnatch or Bird Box, maybe it’ll scare your illness away.

Speaking of which, here’s how to tell when it’s time to pack it in and go to bed: Flu symptoms include high fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, and fatigue. Kids sometimes have nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, too, and absolutely nobody wants that.

So, happy new year everyone! I believe in our ability to have a healthy start and avoid spending a miserable week in bed.