EP City Health officials encourage vaccinations
El Paso, TX (KDBC) — The City of El Paso's Department of Health announced that the number of flu-related deaths in El Paso has risen to four this flu season.
The latest three deaths include a middle-aged man and woman, who both had underlying health conditions. The third death was a young man who department officials say had no underlying health conditions.
The first death of the flu season, a middle-aged man, was reported earlier in January by the Health Department. The man, who originally was reported as being healthy, is now said to have had unknown underlying medical issues that contributed to his death.
"What we are seeing right now is that H1N1 is the predominant strain of the virus in our area," said Fernando Gonzalez, Lead Epidemiologist. "We need everyone in the community to realize that the flu caccine can significantly reduce the chances of you getting the flu, and reduce the effects of the virus may have on your health," he said.
Gonzalez also said that at this time in 2013, there were more confirmed flu cases and also four flu-related deaths. Gonzalez encourages all El Paso residents to get a flu vaccine if they haven't done so already. Officials estimate that the flu season should peak in February.
Department officials are asking residents to practice the "4C's," simple recommendations that have proved to be effective in preventing the spread of the flu virus.
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
CALL - Call or see your doctor if you or your child has a fever of
greater than 100 degrees.
The EP Department of Health's Immunization program is also offering flu vaccines to children ages 6 months to 18-years-old who do now have health insurance and who meet eligibility requirements. The cost is $10.00. The Department stocks only a limited amount of adult vaccines and the cost is $25.00-$35.00. Clients are urged to contact the clinic of their choice to verify availability of both the children's and adult vaccines prior to their visit. Residents may also consult with their primary physician or a local retail outlet of their choice in order to obtain the adult vaccine.
For more information on preventing the flu, visit: www.EPHealth.com  and click on the flu prevention page.