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El Paso County residents from randomly selected households in Cascade, Manitou Springs, Pleasant Valley, Mountain Shadows and Old Colorado City participated in a Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) survey on Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13, 2013. The information gathered will be used to help residents and first responders prepare for and respond to flooding and other emergencies.

El Paso County Public Health 2012 Annual Report

When it comes to making changes, every day is a chance to make healthy choices. By focusing on small steps at home, such as skipping sugary drinks or keeping fresh fruit for snacks, you can prevent a variety of health concerns while teaching children the importance of good nutrition.

Secondhand smoke is linked to influenza complications, bronchitis, pneumonia, wheezing, coughing, increased ear infections and more frequent and severe asthma attacks. Tobacco use is a major preventable cause of premature death and disease worldwide. In this country alone, an estimated 443,000 people die prematurely from diseases caused by smoking or secondhand smoke exposure each year.

El Paso County Public Health, following national immunization guidelines issued by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends anyone 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccination. Although the flu vaccine is safe and offers the best protection currently available against the flu, common myths about the vaccine may keep some people from seeking the flu shot.

The Health Care Program for Children with Special Needs (HCP) at El Paso County Public Health help families find appropriate specialty doctors, and connect them to new resources or programs that could benefit families. Public Health nurses also reach out to support groups if needed, and are the calming voice on the phone when road blocks are encountered within the health care system. The HCP staff include two full-time nurses and a registered dietician. Also called care coordinators, they give referrals for medical and developmental services and information, promote independence, provide education and guidance to families about coordinating health care, help families learn about options to help pay for health care, and more.

Parents and caregivers often are aware of the importance of whooping cough vaccines for children – and it’s just as important to remind adults that they need the vaccine, too. Increasing the Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis) vaccination among adults helps prevent the spread of disease and protects the most vulnerable, particularly young infants.

The flu is more dangerous than the common cold for children, and the single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each year. Late summer or early fall are the best times to get the flu vaccine to reduce your chances of getting sick with the flu.

This summer, do something for your child and your school – get your vaccinations up to date so you can avoid being part of the back-to-school rush.

A healthy diet plays a critical role in children's overall health and school performance.