Flu Concerns Still Prominent Despite Recent Ebola Outbreak

Jade Osowski, Health Editor

Nicole Krage, Layout Editor

Ebola…You’ve heard the name, but have you heard the facts?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rare and deadly disease is affecting multiple countries in West Africa, and although the risk of Ebola spreading in the United States is very low, CDC and its partners are taking actions to prevent this from happening.

Ebola is a disease caused by infection with a strain of Ebola virus. The disease is only spread through direct contact with an infected person. Despite common misconceptions, Ebola is not spread through the air, water or food. To keep protected from the virus, CDC encourages individuals to wash their hands with soap or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer; to not touch the blood or body fluids of people who are sick; and to not handle items that may have come into contact with a sick person’s body or body fluids, such as clothes and bedding.

According to Michelle Ronchetti, director of health services, Ebola is not a concern for Lewis University right now.

“Based on what we know so far about the transmission of Ebola, it is not a main threat for Lewis students at this time,” Ronchetti said.

Although Ebola is getting a lot of attention, students should be more focused on getting vaccinated against the flu, as the flu is much easier to spread and contract than Ebola.

“I think that people forget that the flu can be serious,” said Ronchetti. “At the very least, the flu can make someone very sick for five to seven days, and cause missed classes and missed work. Unlike many other viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold, the flu can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications in many people.”

Fortunately, Lewis students realize that the flu is a greater threat than Ebola. In a recent survey of students, 56 percent considered themselves familiar with Ebola and its effects. Despite this majority, 76 percent of the students are more concerned with the flu, as Ronchetti believes they should be.

The best way to prevent the seasonal flu is by getting a flu shot. Free flu vaccinations are still being offered by the Health and Counseling Center. More information regarding Ebola concerns in Illinois is available by visiting the Illinois Department of Public Health website at www.idph.state.il.us/ebola/index.htm.


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