The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and KKTV have reported an increase in influenza cases in Colorado, and there has been a decrease in RSV and COVID-19 cases.
According to the CDPHE, there were 103 new influenza-related hospitalizations in Colorado during the week of Jan. 14. There were 330 new hospitalizations related to COVID-19 in Colorado from Jan. 11-18.
Lacie Fedewa, a family nurse practitioner at the Wellness Center, said that there are a few ways for students and staff to prevent themselves from getting sick.
“It is recommended to stay up to date on your COVID-19 and flu vaccines, wash your hands often, get adequate rest, stay well hydrated, exercise regularly, eat healthy nourishing food and decrease stress as best you can,” Fedewa wrote via email.
According to the CDPHE, only 13.2% of El Paso County residents have received two or more COVID-19 booster vaccines as of Jan. 14. In fact, only 16.8% of El Paso County ages 18 or older have received two or more vaccines.
RSV and COVID-19 cases in Colorado have been declining, but students and staff should continue watching out for symptoms of these viruses since they are still circulating. Fedewa said that these viral infections have a specific set of symptoms that students and staff should be aware of.
With viral infections like COVID-19, RSV and influenza, symptoms can include “cough, sore throat, headache, congestion, runny nose, shortness of breath, wheezing, fever, chills, sweats, body aches and fatigue,” Fedewa said.
The CDPHE says that anyone who gets COVID-19 must isolate for five days and should wear a mask around others for five or more days after that. Fedewa said that those who get sick can optimize their recovery process in a few ways.
“Viral illnesses typically resolve within 5-10 days with time and rest. Coughing keeps mucus mobile and prevents consolidation in lungs; try to limit cough medications and use mostly for help with sleep,” Fedewa said.
Anyone who needs to use cough medicine to treat their symptoms should know that they may have trouble getting it. KKTV reported a shortage of over-the-counter medications used to treat influenza in Colorado.
Fedewa said that antibiotics do not help with viral infections. She thinks that anyone who gets these viruses should increase their water intake, get plenty of rest, wash their hands, wear a mask, eat well and isolate at home until they feel better.
If students are feeling ill, they can schedule an appointment with the Wellness Center to discuss their symptoms and get an evaluation to determine the cause of their illness. To schedule an appointment, call 719-255-4444. Students should go to Urgent Care, visit the ER or call 911 if their symptoms become severe.
Photo by Kira Thorne