Lately, we’ve been hearing about Ebola all over the news, but what is Ebola and what’s the difference between it and the flu?
Ebola is a rare disease caused by an Ebola virus infection, while the flu is a common respiratory infection caused by the influenza virus.2,4 One of the biggest confusions is how each are spread. Ebola can only be spread by blood and body fluids; not by air, water, or food. The flu, though, is easily spread by droplets from people sneezing, coughing, talking, or even on surfaces. Many people ask the question of when you are contagious. You can spread the flu before, during, and after being sick, but Ebola can only be spread when you are having symptoms. 2,4
Both Ebola and the flu begin with similar symptoms: fatigue, fever, muscle pain, and headache. The flu may also come with a cough, sore throat, and runny/stuffy nose and symptoms begin within 2 days of exposure.1,2,4 Ebola, on average, begins after 8-10 days and progresses into vomiting and diarrhea after 3-6 days and there could be possible bleeding or bruising.3,4
The risk of encountering Ebola occurs if you are a healthcare provider or in interaction with someone who has had contact with the blood or body fluids of anyone with Ebola.3,4 With the flu, anyone can catch it and those who are very young, older, or have certain health conditions are at an even higher risk of having serious difficulties. In other words, it is much easier to catch the flu than Ebola!
Many mistakenly believe that the flu isn’t dangerous. In reality, thousands are hospitalized and die from the flu each year from infections such as pneumonia. But this can easily be prevented! Well, doesn’t the vaccine give you the flu? No, you may feel minor effects that feel like the flu, but nothing compared to being extremely sick for several days or worse. The vaccine is recommended every year and can be given to children as young as 6 months. If you or your child hates needles that can easily be solved with a nasal spray vaccine good for ages 2-49 years. The flu season is from October-May, but the peak time is usually between December-February.4 This means that the best time to receive your flu vaccine is now and what better place to get it than at your Creative Care Pharmacy!
For more info about all the vaccinations we have available, give Creative Care a call and you can visit cdc.gov to learn more about these viruses.
- Dolin R. Chapter 187. Influenza. In: Longo DL, Fauci AS, Kasper DL, Hauser SL, Jameson J, Loscalzo J. eds. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 18e. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2012. http://accesspharmacy.mhmedical.com.libnet.swosu.edu/content.aspx?bookid=331&Sectionid=40726944. Accessed November 3, 2014.
- Njoku JC, Hermsen ED. Chapter 87. Influenza. In: DiPiro JT, Talbert RL, Yee GC, Matzke GR, Wells BG, Posey L. eds. Pharmacotherapy: A Pathophysiologic Approach, 9e. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2014. http://accesspharmacy.mhmedical.com.libnet.swosu.edu/content.aspx?bookid=689&Sectionid=45310533. Accessed November 3, 2014.
- Peters CJ. Chapter 197. Ebola and Marburg Viruses. In: Longo DL, Fauci AS, Kasper DL, Hauser SL, Jameson J, Loscalzo J. eds. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 18e. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2012. http://accesspharmacy.mhmedical.com.libnet.swosu.edu/content.aspx?bookid=331&Sectionid=40726956. Accessed November 3, 2014.
- Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html. Accessed November 3, 2014.