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. It is not too late to get a flu shot this year.
El Paso County Public Health’s Immunization Clinic will offer free flu shots for children while vaccine supplies are available, for all children ages 6 months through 18 years. To schedule an appointment, call the clinic at (719) 578-3199.
The flu vaccine is also available at many doctor’s offices and at a variety of pharmacy locations throughout El Paso County. For a flu clinic locator, visit www.elpasocountyhealth.org.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone 6 months of age and older receive a flu vaccine. An annual immunization boosts your immune system and is the first and most important step in protecting yourself against this serious disease.
Influenza in the United States typically arrives in the late fall and peaks from late January to mid-March. During the 2011-2012 flu season, 46 people were hospitalized for flu-related illnesses in El Paso County. This year’s flu season started earlier and more people have been hospitalized with flu-like illnesses. From October 7, 2012, through January 31, 2013, 92 people have been hospitalized for flu related illnesses and one child has died in El Paso County.
Symptoms of the flu can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. Some people with the flu will not have a fever.
Here are some tips to help stop the spread of germs at home, work, and school:
· Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
· Stay home when you are sick.
· Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
· Wash your hands often with soap and water to help protect yourself from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
For more information on flu, visit El Paso County Public Health’s website at www.elpasocountyhealth.org.