El Paso County Public Health launches flu data dashboard

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FILE – This Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020 file photo shows influenza vaccine syringes at the L.A. Care Health Plan and Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan’s Community Resource Center’s Free Drive-Thru vaccination event in Los Angeles. February is usually the peak of flu season, with doctors’ offices and hospitals packed with suffering patients. But not in 2021. Flu has virtually disappeared, with reports coming in at far lower levels than anything seen in decades. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. – With flu season underway, El Paso County Public Health is launching an influenza data dashboard to enhance its standard weekly flu reporting with new data visualizations. 

The latest dashboard—which will be updated weekly on Mondays—captures a weekly snapshot of flu activity in the community, including hospitalizations and pediatric deaths, which are reportable per Colorado law to local public health agencies. To view the flu data dashboard, visit www.elpasocountyhealth.org/flu-prevention.

“We are excited to offer this new resource for the public and our community partners,” said Natalia Gayou, epidemiologist for El Paso County Public Health. “In addition to COVID-19, tracking respiratory illnesses like flu is critical to efficiently monitor and identify disease trends in the community. It’s important to note that flu hospitalizations and pediatric deaths only capture a snapshot of disease activity representing the most severe illness. We know that flu is circulating, and it’s important to take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones.” 

The interactive dashboard gives weekly updates on flu hospitalizations and pediatric deaths in El Paso County throughout the 2021-2022 influenza season and compares the trends from previous seasons.

“The new dashboard will offer local information about flu trends in El Paso County,” said Susan Wheelan, director of El Paso County Public Health. “In the midst of the ongoing pandemic, our goal continues to be providing the public with credible data and information to help people make informed decisions for themselves and their families and to provide easily accessible resources such as flu vaccine.”    

The flu usually starts suddenly and may include the following symptoms:  

  • Fever (usually high)  
  • Headache  
  • Tiredness (can be extreme)  
  • Cough  
  • Sore throat  
  • Body aches  
  • Diarrhea and vomiting (more common among children than adults)  

Having these symptoms does not always mean that you have the flu. Many different illnesses, including COVID-19 and the common cold, can have similar symptoms.

Flu prevention  

Getting the flu vaccine every year is the best way to prevent the spread of the flu. The vaccine is safe and effective.    

Take these four steps to prevent the flu:

  • Get vaccinated against the flu  
  • Stay home if you are sick with flu symptoms. Keep kids 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 your elbow, not your hands 

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, option 5.
  • El Paso County Public Health’s mobile vaccination van is also available to provide flu shots at worksites, schools, community events, and more. To request a van at your location, please submit this form.
  • To locate a flu vaccine near you, call Pikes Peak United Way’s 2-1-1- information and referral hotline or visit www.vaccinefinder.org.

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