Despite national spike, flu cases in El Paso County remain steady

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Over 14,000 cases of influenza have been reported across the country this year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fifty-one of the 54 states and territories are experiencing elevated levels of flu and flu-like illnesses. So far, 20 pediatric deaths have been reported this year from the virus.

In El Paso County, roughly 175 people have tested positive for the influenza virus and that number is expected to grow. However, doctors say the number of cases is typical for this time of year.

“I’m not seeing anymore in the clinic than usual, it’s pretty typical,” said Doctor Ian Tullberg, the medical director for UCHealth Urgent Care.

Doctor Tullberg adds the number of flu cases he’s seen so far are normal for this time of year.

“This is about the right time for that bump as well, mid February, early February and it’s going right along with the calendar how it should,” said Tullberg.

Symptoms of the respiratory illness include coughing, severe body aches, fever and often time stomach illness which can last for nearly a week.

“It really is everywhere so doing your best job washing your hands constantly, using those little hand sanitizers, seems like everyone has now and even wearing masks,” he said.

Nearly 80 people have been hospitalized at UCHealth Memorial while 60 people have tested positive at Penrose Hospital and St. Francis Medical Center.

“We’re still seeing unfortunately a lot of people who did get the flu vaccine, they are still coming down with the flu,” said Tullberg. “That happens every year.”

Elderly folks and young children are most at risk for the virus but anyone is susceptible to catching it. If you do happen to come down with the flu, doctors recommend getting treatment within 48 hours.

“The flu test now is much improved, even over last year so we have a lot better way of determining is this the flu or just an overall viral illness,” said Tullberg. “So if you come in within the 48 hours we can start a medication to try and help with that.”

Doctor Tullberg adds that if you haven’t gotten a vaccine, it’s not too late to still get one.

 

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