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 now.
Two cases of hospitalized influenza (flu) have been reported in El Paso County as of October 13, 2017.
“Getting your annual flu vaccine is very important, especially for children, the elderly, or those with respiratory conditions such as asthma,” said Dr. Chris Nevin-Woods, El Paso County Public Health’s Medical Director. “The flu vaccine is safe and offers the best protection currently available against flu.”
Flu vaccine is also 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.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend the nasal spray flu vaccine, often used in previous seasons for children, due to low effectiveness in the United States.
During last year’s flu season (2016-2017), 371 people in El Paso County were 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.
• 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.
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.
• To locate a flu vaccine clinic near you, call the Pikes Peak United Way’s 2-1-1 information and referral hotline.