Mesa County sees rise in flu-like illness

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MESA COUNTY, Colo. Nearly half the nation is reporting widespread seasonal influenza activity. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control most of it is attributed to the H1N1 virus that caused a worldwide pandemic back in 2009.

The latest data from the CDC indicates the proportion of people seeing their health care provider for flu-like illness has gone up, which is similar to the activity we are seeing right here in Mesa County.

Ben Rueck was sick with the flu a few weeks ago. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says there are more cases among people ages 25 to 64, an age group Rueck falls right into.

“I felt horrible…back spasms, aches, I couldn't really move out of bed for four to five days," said Rueck.

“What we've noticed in the last week, is along with the flu is this upper respiratory infection and that's really hitting a lot of people really hard," said Paul Sweeney, spokesman for the VA Medical Center.

VA Medical Center officials say the upper respiratory infection they are seeing is very common and highly contagious and should be taken with the same precautions as the flu.

“Wash your hands, stay out of crowded areas, if you haven't got the flu shot please get the flu shot because you don't want to get these two in a combination," said Sweeney.

“A lot of cases there's not really anything going to the doctor is going to do for you. What you need is bed rest and plenty of it,” said Sweeney.

As for Rueck, he's going to try his hardest not to get sick again.

“I made sure that I wash my hands and i try to be as careful as I possibly can," said Rueck.

In Colorado there has been a cumulative total of 448 hospitalizations from 34 counties reported. In Mesa County, there have been 21 hospitalized cases of influenza as of Monday.

The CDPHE reports nearly all flu viruses circulating in our state are the 2009 H1N1 Virus. If you would like to track flu activity around you, the CDC has developed an app for your mobile device for the latest influenza activity updates.

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