Flu warrants concern over Ebola

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Casey Williams

 

There has been some serious talk about the Ebola virus and the confirmed cases in the United States. Along with that talk has come fear and panic. To minimize some of this anxiety, take a look at the facts.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC):

Ebola is NOT an airborne virus, so even if you are traveling on an airplane internationally, the likelihood of contracting the virus is extremely low. Ebola is transmitted through contact with the bodily fluids from an individual who has the virus. So…don’t touch other people’s blood and stuff, seems pretty simple.

You cannot contract Ebola through water or food, provided you are not consuming wild animals. The distinguishing symptoms of Ebola are severe headache, diarrhea, abdominal pain and unexplainable hemorrhaging. If you have all of these things, you just might have Ebola and should see a doctor or physician. Presence of any one symptom would be grounds to visit one for other reasons, though.

The Ebola virus is extremely difficult to spread in the sanitary conditions that appear in the United States. While Ebola is an especially gruesome disease, with only 3 confirmed cases to date out of the approximate 300 million American citizens, statistically it should be towards the bottom of your list to worry about.

What should cause you concern is protecting yourself, and all those near you, from the flu. With flu season and finals right around the corner, immune systems are low and contagions are high. Stress from studying for tests can cause your immune system to weaken, making you more susceptible to opportunistic infections.

To avoid contracting anything, make sure to take the proper precautions. The first and most obvious step would be to practice good hygiene. Make sure that you are washing your hands often and thoroughly, especially when coming in contact with public computers. In most of the computer labs on campus there are hand sanitizer dispensers right next to the door. Use them! Simple steps like this can mean the difference between staying healthy and spending your study time fighting off the flu.

The next step would be to, if you have not already, get a flu shot! Free vaccinations were being offered on campus, but if you chose not to take advantage of it then, or were too scared, there are more options out there. Many local clinics are offering flu shots at little to no cost with most insurance policies.

And perhaps the most basic rules (it’s sad this even needs to be said, but most of you don’t do it), always cover your nose and mouth to prevent spreading germs. If you’re sick, the best thing for you to do is stay in bed and rest. The more you exert yourself the harder it will be for your body to fight off an infection or virus and your classmates will thank you for it. If you do all these things, you’ll reduce your chances of getting sick significantly and have one less thing to worry about!