El Paso County, Colo. — The flu season is officially underway, and El Paso County Public Health urges anyone 6 months of age and older to get a flu vaccination as soon as possible. Two cases of hospitalized influenza (flu) have been reported in El Paso County as of October 23, 2018.
“Getting an influenza vaccine every year is the best way to prevent the spread of the flu. The vaccine is safe, effective and will not give you the flu,” said Dr. Robin Johnson, El Paso County Public Health’s Medical Director. “It is especially important for children, the elderly, or those with respiratory conditions such as asthma.”
Flu vaccine is available at El Paso County Public Health. For more information, visit www.elpasocountyhealth.org or call (719) 578-3199, option 5 to make an appointment.
Last year’s flu season (2017-2018) was severe, with 489 people in El Paso County hospitalized due to flu-related symptoms. Flu activity commonly peaks in January or February. However, it can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May.
The flu usually starts suddenly and may include the following symptoms:
- Fever (usually high)
- Tiredness (can be extreme)
- Sore throat
- Body aches
- Diarrhea and vomiting (more common among children than adults)
Having these symptoms does not always mean that you have flu. Many different illnesses, including the common cold, can have similar symptoms. Those most at risk for developing flu-related complications are children under 2, the elderly, pregnant women, or people with chronic respiratory disease or who have weakened immune systems.
Take these four steps to prevent the flu:
- Get vaccinated against flu.
- Stay home if you are sick with flu symptoms. Keep your children home if they are showing signs of illness. You should not return to work or school until 24 hours after a fever ends without the help of fever-reducing medicines.
- Wash your hands frequently (with soap and water for at least 20 seconds).
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or a sleeve not your hand.
Find a flu shot:
- Flu vaccine is available at El Paso County Public Health. For more information, visit www.elpasocountyhealth.org or call (719) 578-3199, (select option 5) to make an appointment.
- A walk-in flu clinic will be offered Thursday, November 15 from 9-11 a.m. at the Southeast WIC Clinic, 2948 E. Fountain Blvd., Colorado Springs. Serves: children and adults who are Medicaid-eligible, uninsured, or underinsured. Most forms of insurance also accepted.
- To locate a flu vaccine clinic near you, call the Pikes Peak United Way’s 2-1-1 information and referral hotline or visit www.vaccinefinder.org.