FOX21 News Colorado

Flu Season: Hospitals overwhelmed in Pueblo County

Pueblo health officials are advising the community to know the symptoms of flu and when one needs to go to the hospital to seek treatment.

Officials say while some people may feel awful with milder influenza cases, they do not require emergency care.

“Most patients with influenza can be treated at home. Patients should only come to the emergency room if they are experiencing emergency warning signs or flu sickness,” said Dr. Tom Greidanus of Southern Colorado Emergency Medical Associates and an ER physician at Parkview Medical Center. “We have been sending home the majority of patients with influenza, because they are mildly ill. Of those patients admitted with influenza, many are critically ill, and in an intensive care unit in isolation for influenza with some on ventilators.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, here are the emergency warning signs for flu:

In children:

In addition to the signs above, get medical help right away for any infant who has any of these signs:

In adults:

Symptoms of the flu start suddenly and may include the following:

Officials say even though the flu shot is not showing as much effectiveness this year as in years before, it’s still important to receive the flu vaccine. Flu vaccine is available in Pueblo. Individuals with insurance are encouraged to check with their physician or local pharmacy for flu vaccine. The Health Department offers vaccine to children and to uninsured adults by appointment. For more information, call the Health Department’s clinic at 583-4380.

Take the following steps to prevent the flu:

  1. Get your flu vaccine.
    – Visit your doctor or pharmacist to get the last flu vaccine.
  2. Take everyday actions to stop the spread of germs.
    – Cough or sneeze into a tissue or a sleeve. Wash your hands frequently (with soap and water for at least 20 seconds).
    – Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  3. Stay home if you are sick with flu symptoms.
    – Stay home (and keep children home) when you are sick for at least 24 hours after fever ends. Take anti-viral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

As of January 10, 2018, there have been 119 hospitalized flu cases in Pueblo for the 2017-2018 flu season. There were 173 total hospitalized flu cases in Pueblo for the 2016-2017 flu season.

For more information on influenza, visit cdc.gov/flu/takingcare or pueblohealthdept.org.