The flu season is off to an early start this year, with four people already hospitalized in the Colorado Springs area, according to El Paso County Public Health.

Flu activity typically peaks in January or February, but cases can start as early as October, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last year's flu season started late and was relatively mild, the CDC said. The emergence of cases early in the season is not a barometer for how severe the season may be.

The area's first case was reported Oct. 9, the health department said. Three elderly people and an adolescent have been hospitalized with the flu. Last yaer, 46 people in El Paso County had to be hospitalized because of flu symptoms, which can include a high fever, headache, extreme fatigue, a could, sore throat and body aches. Diarrhea and vomiting may be present as well, though those symptoms usually show up in children.

Public health officials urges anyone 6 months old and older to get the flu vaccination. The people most at risk for developing complications from the flu are children under 2, the elderly, pregnant women and people with chronic respiratory disease or weakened immune systems.

To find a flu shot clinic, call the Pikes Peak United Way’s 2-1-1 information and referral hotline, or visit or