The snow is falling, holiday lights are shining, and...everyone is getting sick.

Flu season is picking up, and experts at UCHealth are imploring Coloradans to protect themselves from the virus now, before it reaches its peak.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, around 112 people in Colorado have been hospitalized with the flu so far. These numbers are expected to rise as people interact more through shopping, family events, and travel.

In order to protect their current patients, UCHealth is implementing extra measures in its facilities this flu season.

These include requiring those with flu-like symptoms to wear masks at UCHealth hospitals and prohibiting them from entering high-risk areas, such as the ICU or the oncology unit.

"The flu can be a deadly disease, especially for our sickest patients," said Emily Thorp, the infection prevention manager for UCHealth in Northern Colorado. "'s important to limit transmission of the virus as much as possible."

The elderly and young children are the most vulnerable during flu season, along with those suffering from other health conditions, such as diabetes or pregnancy.

However, the flu can affect perfectly healthy people as well.

To avoid getting (and spreading) the flu, experts recommend getting vaccinated, washing your hands frequently, and covering coughs and sneezes.

Symptoms of the flu include a dry cough, a fever of 101 degrees or higher, sore throat, shaking and chills, severe muscle and body aches, and a bad headache.

Other possible symptoms are fatigue, runny nose, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.

If you suspect you have the flu, visit your physician as soon as possible. After that, use your unfortunate circumstance as a chance to stay home and become a guilt-free couch potato.

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