‘Tis the Season…For the Flu, Not Ebola

The weather is changing, Thanksgiving is only a few short weeks away, and holiday shopping is in full swing. This can only mean one thing: ‘Tis the flu season. So, as we file in and out of shopping malls in search of the the perfect set of golf clubs for Dad or earrings for Mom, we need to be careful not to share more with each other than just holiday spirit. Getting the flu vaccination should be at the top of everyone’s wish list; however, with the world reeling from the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, this flu season does have a different feel to it. It is right to fear contracting the deadly virus, but Influenza is still much more prominent in the United States and is as dangerous as ever. With Ebola dominating the headlines and Flu season upon us, here is a comparison of the two illnesses.

First of all, Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is widespread in West Africa where it originated and has claimed many lives. Ebola’s symptoms are fever, sore throat, muscle pain, fatigue, a raised rash, vomiting and diarrhea. It is transmitted by direct contact with infected blood, secretions, organs, or other bodily fluids. It is impossible to conract Ebola without being exposed to it. In the United States, there have been four cases of Ebola. The first two were travel cases contracted in Africa by healthcare professionals treating the disease. The other two cases were contracted by healthcare professionals here in the US treating the first two. Ebola is much more difficult to transmit in countries with advanced healthcare, and that is why it hasn’t spread here like it has overseas. Nevertheless, Ebola is still very deadly and it is important to take the same basic precautions against it as we do other infectious diseases. Ebola is treatable, but there are no vaccines that have been approved, though two are undergoing testing.

Ebola and seasonal Influenza have very similar symptoms; however, the Flu is much more common than Ebola. It affects hundreds of thousands of Americans every year. It is transmitted easily through sneezing, coughing, and touching contaminated areas. Flu symptoms include coughing, sneezing, fever and nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Moreover, seasonal influenza continuously evolves and there are many strains which makes it a very deadly virus. In order to help prevent the spread of the virus this winter, remember to wash your hands frequently, contain your coughs and sneezes, and try to avoid crowds. It is also highly recommended by healthcare professionals for people to receive flu vaccinations every year.

Both Ebola and Influenza are very deadly diseases. The Ebola epidemic has killed so many, but the Flu is very common and much more relevant to us here in the United States. While the fear of Ebola is real, it is very important to remember to take up our annual guard against the Flu. So this holiday season, get in the spirit of keeping us all safe and healthy. Don’t forget, you can receive your flu vaccination at any of our ProHealth or ProHealth Medical Care locations.

Photo, Epidemics Epidemic Indicates Contagious Infection And Contagion Stock Image, by Stuart Miles courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.