Have a Happy, Healthy Holiday

Have a Happy, Healthy Holiday

Since the norovirus-like illness that impacted our community around the Thanksgiving holiday, Mesa County Public Health has been monitoring illness to an even greater degree than usual. As a result of that enhanced monitoring, we have been made aware of increased illness at least one local school heading into Winter Break. 

The reports we received of increased illness were on Thursday (12/19) and Friday (12/20). The symptoms are similar to what we saw in November, with most cases reporting vomiting. In addition, there are also reports of fever with this illness. As of this (Friday) afternoon, District 51 schools are out of session for Winter Break.  

Mesa County Public Health is concerned about the spread of illness into our community. This time of year, the chance of getting sick increases as we all gather together. To remain healthy, we’re asking our community to take steps to prevent the spread of illness. 

We hope these recommendations help ensure you have a happy and healthy holiday.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

To prevent the spread of illness to other people it is very important we all:

  • REMAIN HOME If someone in your family is ill and has symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, and/or a fever, they should stay home until at least 24 hours after symptoms end. 
    • These types of illnesses typically run their course but watch for symptoms of dehydration which include: sunken eyes, dry mouth and tongue, increased thirst, skin that goes back slowly when pinched, and a decrease in volume of urine.
  • KNOW THE RISK Certain groups are at a higher risk of illness, and if you’ve been around someone who’s been sick there’s an increased likelihood you could get sick, too. Many illnesses have what’s called an incubation period, an amount of time between when you’re infected and you actually have symptoms. Keep that in mind, and if you’ve been around or cared for someone who’s been sick, consider limiting interactions. You could be contagious and spreading illness, even when you don’t feel sick yet.
  • WASH HANDS Ensure that all members of your household wash their hands often, especially after using the bathroom, cleaning, changing diapers, or before preparing or eating food. 
    • Cover all parts of hands with soap, rub lathered hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds, and thoroughly rinse hands with water.
    • A hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol can be used if soap and water are not available, but washing with soap and water is best.
  • DISINFECT Some of these illnesses can be difficult to get rid of and particles can live on surfaces for weeks, even months. When you’re cleaning, disinfect using a solution of one cup of regular strength bleach in one gallon of water. Be sure to clean surfaces that are commonly touched like doorknobs, light switches, or remote controls.
  • CONSIDER A FLU SHOT Mesa County Public Health recommends everyone over the age of 6 months get an annual flu vaccine. Influenza is prevalent this season in many areas of the country, including Colorado.  A flu shot is your best protection against severe complications that can arise from influenza. The Mesa County Public Health Clinic, located at 510 29 ½ Road, has flu vaccine available and serves all patients regardless of ability to pay.  
  • CONTACT PUBLIC HEALTH The public vomiting line remains open and allows Mesa County Public Health to follow up with facilities where public vomiting events occur to ensure proper cleanup. To report an incident of public vomiting online click here or call 970-462-7074. 
  • CONTACT A DOCTOR These recommendations are intended to help prevent the further spread of illness, not serve as a diagnosis or medical advice. If you or your child is sick, and you have questions about the symptoms or illness, you should contact a healthcare provider.
MCPH Closely Monitoring Flu Activity: You Can Too With Flu-View

MCPH Closely Monitoring Flu Activity: You Can Too With Flu-View

Flu Season is already hitting parts of the country hard, Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) is closely monitoring activity and you can too with Flu-View.

Mesa County Public Health has once again activated our flu-view on health.mesacounty.us.  This gives our community a real-time way to monitor flu activity in Mesa County and the surrounding areas.

What’s new this year

  • In addition to providing a meter showing hospitalizations for flu, a second meter has been added monitoring flu and flu-like illness activity at primary care offices throughout Mesa County.
  • With activity already high in many parts of the country, this new data source will be a chance for MCPH, our health care provider partners, and the community, to monitor local activity.
  • Also added is an influenza type tracker where you can see which type of influenza is impacting our region.
    • So far this season, unlike the severe start in some other areas, Mesa County’s predominant strain is influenza A. However, in the last week, we have seen more positive tests for influenza B. This could be an indication of increased activity in the weeks to come.
    • Influenza B can be more severe in young children. Vaccinating your children is the best protection against influenza. Caregivers and other adults around children should get a vaccine too.
    • The flu vaccine protects against both influenza A and influenza B.
    • It’s not too late to get a flu vaccine. Our clinic, located at 510 29 ½ Road, has vaccine available. Our clinic is open Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome, no appointment needed.

Things to know about influenza

  • An annual flu vaccine is your best protection from influenza. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot. It can help shorten the severity and has been proven to lead to fewer hospitalizations.
  • Children aged 6 months through 8 years require 2 doses of influenza vaccine during their first season of vaccination to enhance immune response. 
  • Flu can be dangerous for children. Complications from flu include pneumonia, dehydration, sinus problems, and ear infections. Complications can lead to death.
  • The flu spreads mainly by droplets made when people with the virus cough, sneeze or talk. People with flu can spread it to others up to 6 feet away.
  • With the recent gastrointestinal illness outbreak in Mesa County, it’s easy to be confused about the differences between influenza and norovirus.  
    • Influenza is a respiratory virus that affects mainly the lungs.
    • Symptoms of the flu are; cough, sore throat, sudden onset of fever (up to 104 degrees). To read more about the differences between these viruses, click here

Public health recommendations 

  • A flu shot is the first step to prevent influenza but you should also:
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Cover your mouth and nose.
    • Clean your hands frequently, and use soap and water whenever possible.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Routinely clean frequently touched objects at work and home including doorknobs, keyboards, and phones to help remove germs.
  • Stay home if you get sick. Germs spread easily at child care, school, and work, so it’s best to stay home when you’re not feeling well. 
Public Health Recommendations for Parents/Caregivers, Individuals, and Providers for Flu Season

Public Health Recommendations for Parents/Caregivers, Individuals, and Providers for Flu Season

The flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu. A yearly flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older. The vaccine is extremely effective in preventing severe flu illness and can reduce the risk of hospitalization due to flu. 

For Parents, Pregnant Women, and Caregivers

  • Flu can be dangerous for children. Complications from flu include pneumonia, dehydration, sinus problems, and ear infections. Complications can lead to death.
  • Parents and adults who supervise children under the age of 5 years of age should get a flu vaccine.
  • The flu spreads mainly by droplets made when people with the virus cough, sneeze or talk.  People with flu can spread it to others up to 6 feet away.
  • Call your health care provider if your child develops flu symptoms, they may prescribe antiviral drugs, depending on the specific symptoms and circumstances.
  • Pregnant women and women up to 2 weeks after the end of pregnancy are at high risk from the flu. 
    • The flu shot is safe and recommended during pregnancy. 
    • Pregnant women who get a flu vaccine are also helping to protect their babies from flu illness for the first several months after their birth when they are too young to get vaccinated.

For Individuals

  • Be sure to get your flu shot before the end of October. Remember that it takes two weeks for the vaccine to offer full protection.
    • MCPH Clinic has flu vaccine available.
  • A flu shot is the first step to prevent influenza but you should also:
    • Avoid close contact.
    • Cover your mouth and nose.
    • Clean your hands frequently, and use soap and water whenever possible.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Routinely clean frequently touched objects at work and home including doorknobs, keyboards, and phones to help remove germs.
  • Stay home if you get sick. Germs spread easily at child care, school, and work, so it’s best to stay home when you’re not feeling well. 

For Providers

  • Promptly report hospitalizations due to flu, pediatric flu deaths, or any suspected outbreak due to flu to Mesa County Public Health at 970-254-4120.
  • Offer flu vaccine to your patients and encourage patients to be vaccinated by the end of October.
  • Stay up-to-date on community flu activity by reviewing real-time community flu data on our website, https://health.mesacounty.us/flu-meter

Mesa County Public Health’s clinic offers the influenza vaccine and serves all patients regardless of ability to pay. Walk-ins welcome.

Flu Clinic Information (new date added)

  • When: Saturday, October 26th from 9 a.m.- 12 p.m. (open to all ages)
  • Where: 510 29 ½ Road
  • What to bring:  ID and insurance card 
  • Questions?  Call 970-248-6900

To read more about the 2018-2019 flu season in Mesa County click here.

Mesa County Resident Hospitalized with Flu

Mesa County Resident Hospitalized with Flu

Early Season Highlights Importance of Flu Vaccine

Mesa County has its first hospitalized influenza case in an adult male over the age of 55.  The hospitalization comes significantly earlier in the season compared to the 2018-19 flu season which didn’t see a hospitalization until November.  

“We are seeing flu circulating in the community,” Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) Executive Director, Jeff Kuhr says.  “A flu shot is your best protection against the severe complications that can come with the virus.” Influenza killed about 61,000 people in the United States during the 2018-19 season down from a record 80,000 the season prior.

The 2018-19 MCPH Influenza Report outlines local data and some key takeaways from last season. One of the most striking takeaways was that Mesa County experienced a more severe flu season than Colorado and the United States with an extended period in February of higher rates of hospitalization.  

Flu season begins in October and goes through the beginning of May. “The early flu activity is noteworthy, but not necessarily an indication of how severe of a season we can expect this year,” explains Kuhr. “It’s an important reminder that now is the time to get your flu shot.” It takes two weeks for the vaccine to be fully effective, so MCPH recommends getting a flu shot by the end of October. 

Mesa County Public Health’s clinic offers the influenza vaccine and serves all patients regardless of ability to pay. Walk-ins welcome.

Flu Clinic Information

  • When: Saturday, October 19th from 9 a.m.- 12 p.m. (open to all ages)
  • Where: 510 29 ½ Road
  • What to bring:  ID and insurance card 
  • Questions?  Call 970-248-6900

To read more about the 2018-2019 flu season in Mesa County click here.

MCPH 2018-2019 Influenza Report

MCPH 2018-2019 Influenza Report

117 hospitalizations during unusually long 2018-2019 flu season

Mesa County saw a longer than usual influenza, or flu, season last year. The season was unique in that it had two waves of flu that impacted residents, including a change in the dominant strain of the virus, midway through the season. 

In total 117 people were hospitalized during the 2018-2019 season, which was down from the previous year. During the record 2017-2018 season, there were 232 people in Mesa County hospitalized with the flu.

As part of our continuing effort to use data to inform decisions and policy, Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) has compiled the 2018-2019 Influenza Report. The report outlines not only the number of cases and demographic information but also includes some key takeaways, and public health recommendations, such as the need for expanded access to primary care to reduce the number of emergency department visits due to influenza. Other public health recommendations in the report are to:

  • Bolster Mesa County’s healthcare system to be better prepared for a severe flu season by enhancing cross-sector partnerships and further improving infection prevention efforts throughout the county
  • Provide public education on the seasonal flu shot, especially to at-risk groups (pregnant women, adults over 65 years, and anyone with an underlying medical condition).

Mesa County Public Health is also working to inform our community about influenza.  The ‘stomach flu’ is oftentimes used in casual conversation to describe the flu. In reality, influenza is a respiratory illness. Symptoms typically include fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue and muscle or body aches.  Sometimes, nausea is associated with the influenza virus, but it’s more common in children than adults.

An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against the flu. Among adults in Mesa County, about 40% report getting their annual flu shot. The Healthy People 2020 goal is for 70% of adults to report receiving the yearly flu vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older. Mesa County Public Health’s clinic offers the influenza vaccine and serves all patients regardless of ability to pay. Walk-ins welcome.

Flu Clinic Information

  • When: Saturday, October 19th, 2019, from 9 a.m.- 12 p.m. (open to all ages)
  • Where: 510 29 ½ Road
  • What to bring:  ID and insurance card
  • Questions?  Call 970-248-6900