Why you should be more worried about flu than Ebola

The flu is a bigger threat to Americans than Ebola, and there’s something you can do to protect yourself

So far this year about 4,800 people in West Africa have died from the Ebola virus. Every year about 36,000 people in America die from another threatening virus — influenza. Yes, the flu is a bigger threat to Americans than Ebola, and there’s something you can do to protect yourself — get vaccinated.

Last flu season, only 46 percent of Americans got a flu shot. That resulted in more than a quarter million people in this country being hospitalized with flu-related complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Unlike Ebola, flu is a very common viral illness and all of us are at risk, especially during the months of October through May. It is spread by droplets from sneezing, coughing or talking, or by touching surfaces an infected person has touched. Flu symptoms include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish
  • Headache
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Feeling very tired (fatigue)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose

Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with the Ebola virus. Ebola can be spread only by direct contact with blood or body fluids from a person who is sick or who has died of Ebola. Ebola is not spread in the air or through water.

People with Ebola cannot spread the virus until symptoms appear, whereas people with the flu may be contagious before symptoms appear.

Ebola symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Feeling very tired (fatigue)
  • Vomiting and diarrhea developing after three to six days
  • Weakness (can be severe)

Take a look at this graphic from the CDC that highlights the differences between flu and Ebola.

You decide which virus is a bigger threat … and then get your flu shot. You can get a flu shot at any Norton Immediate Care Center or by visiting your primary care doctor. If you don’t have a primary care doctor, visit mynortondoctor.com to find one near you.


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