Roughly 45.000 people died from flu-related illnesses last year in America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s data only points to 4.800 people who died to Ebola this year. Statistically speaking, there are more chances for people to die of the flu than ebola. Dr. Gregory Smolin, owner of AllBetterCare Urgent Care considers that the numbers should be enough to convince people to get their flu shot.
“If you want to have something to be concerned about, influenza is a real concern. It’s virtually a guarantee that all of us will be exposed to influenza this winter. I have no idea how bad it will be or how prevalent it will be in central Pennsylvania yet, but you will be exposed to it. Get a flu shot, that’s the best thing you can do to protect your health from infectious disease this winter.”
Of course, this doesn’t mean that Dr. Smolin wants to downplay the tragedies that are unfolding in West Africa. He is aware that Ebola is a very dangerous virus, that is hard to treat. However, he believes that steps have been taken by the CDC to contain the virus in the United States, and he encourages the population to remain grounded in their immediate problems.
“It’s a public health issue. Don’t listen to your congressman, don’t listen to the guy on cable TV. The CDC (doesn’t) get everything right every time, but it is the most sophisticated public health organization in the world in how they respond to things like this.”
He also advocates for calm. The world is becoming more and more concerned with the Ebola problem, but risk is still very low for the public. It is highly unlikely for American citizens to contract Ebola. Also, Ebola has similar symptoms to the flu. Ebola will show up two 21 days after exposure, and it is only contagious when it starts showing signs. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, muscle pain, fever and headache.
“The thing that makes it deadly, is it causes bleeding. You start having uncontrolled internal bleeding, and via dehydration and myulti-organ failure (you die). It’s pretty horrible.”
On the other hand, the flu is a respiratory illness so it only has the fever, body aches and headache symtomps of Ebola. The two viruses are also transmitted differently. Ebola can only be spread through direct contact through broken skin or mucous membranes, while the flu only requires people to stand 6 feet away from each-other. This time of the year is marked by the presence of the flu and enterovirus, but people should not alarm themselves.
“If you are not feeling well right now, it’s likely that you have the flu or some type of virus. You likely do not have eEbola. Again, we recommend that one: you’ve got to get your flu shot, vaccination is the best form of prevention.” – Aimee Tysarczyk, press secretary and communication director for the Pennsylvania Department of Health