The City of El Paso Department of Public Health is issuing a health advisory to local physicians and healthcare providers regarding the increase in flu activity and a particular strain that can have severe effects on those with weaker immune systems.
“We want our local community to be especially sensitive to those with chronic conditions and pregnant women because they are considered at a higher risk,” said Department of Public Health Director Robert Resendes. “While we still encourage vaccination, we are also putting the message out to local providers that they need to consider prescribing antivirals quickly as the flu season continues to peak. Those with flu symptoms are encouraged to seek out medical care as soon as possible after onset of flu like symptoms.”
With 1,163 confirmed cases reported so far this flu season, as compared to 252 cases at this time last year, public Health officials are recommending that health care providers who diagnose patients with the flu consider beginning the use of antivirals as soon as possible in order to reduce the severity of the disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) influenza activity in the United States has increased significantly over recent weeks with influenza and the most predominate strain so far this season has been one that can have severe effects on those 65 years and older, pregnant women and young children.
The Department is issuing an electronic Health Advisory to all local doctor’s offices, clinics, and hospitals in an effort to get the message out about the flu this season and special considerations for those most vulnerable, including children and the elderly, and those with chronic conditions. The public is also reminded to practice the four C’s:
- CLEAN – Wash your hands often. Scrub your hands for at least 30 seconds with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
- COVER – Cover your cough. Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Don’t have a tissue? The crook of your elbow will do.
- CONTAIN – Contain germs by steering clear of others who are sick. If you do get sick, stay home until you’re well again, so you don’t spread more germs.
- CALL – Call or see your doctor if you or your child has a fever greater than 100 degrees.
The mission of the City of El Paso Department of Public Health is to Provide Public Health related research, evaluation, education, prevention, intervention, and preparedness services.