There is no denying that the Ebola virus is a tragic and deadly international concern, and that every precaution should be taken to ensure the deadly virus doesn’t spread further. here at AFC Urgent Care, we want to point to another virus, just as deadly, if not more, that is as much of a threat to lives here in the U.S, as much, if not more often than the Ebola virus. That virus is influenza, or the flu.
According to CDC statistics, here in the U.S alone, we usually see anywhere from 30,000 to 90,000 people per year dying from complications caused by the flu.
The flu can and has been deadly. It’s estimated that at the end of the World War I in 1918-1919, an estimated 50 million to 100 million people died from the Spanish Influenza worldwide as it ravaged countries.
Because it is so common, the flu doesn’t startle, or alarm us, especially compared with the Ebola virus, which is dominating the media and everyday conversation over the past several months.
The facts are that the flu is much more easily transmitted than Ebola. Ebola can only be transmitted through direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids. Shaking someone’s hand or hugging someone rarely leads to an Ebola infection.
One would have to come into very close contact with someone who, for instance, has projectile vomiting and/or diarrhea to contract the disease. The two nurses in Dallas who contracted the virus from a patient who had visited Liberia in West Africa, where the disease has killed thousands, contracted it that way.
Hopefully, This will come as a relief who worry that they may contract Ebola in a doctors office waiting area or public space. One would have had to come in close, fluid transmitting contact with someone who has just returned from either Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone, and had been infected with Ebola to contract it.
The flu, however, is more easily transmitted because it is an airborne virus; much simpler to contract. Someone with the flu who is coughing can spread it to others, and it can also be spread from touching items that have been contaminated by someone else, such as public transit stations, or door knobs.
Key precautions to protect oneself from contracting the flu include washing hands and wearing a mask if you have a cold or a fever and are visiting someone in the hospital. For school children, not sharing juice boxes or snacks, using hand sanitizers and tissues, all help stop the possible spread of the flu.
The single biggest preventative step to flu prevention is to get a flu shot, and get it before the season begins.
Although there are some people who occasionally have a reaction to the shot, such as a low grade fever or some discomfort, contracting the flu can be much worse.