It was only a matter of time before Ebola made its way to New York State, and it’s official. A doctor named Craig Spencer has the dubious honor of being the Empire State’s first official Ebola case.
OK, but let me ask you a question: have you gotten your flu shot yet?
Warning, you’re about to hear a lot of facts and figures backed up by science. You likely won’t hear them from a TV pundit screaming at you that the end of the world is coming.
You will find them on the likes of the CDC, New York State Department of Health and other websites maintained by reputable agencies.
You won’t hear them from fearmongers on Facebook. You will hear them from every day parents who just want to be able to send their kids to school all winter without having to worry about them bringing home something that will land them in the hospital for two weeks.
As a mother who sends her kid five days a week to a place where there’s a lot of coughing and sneezing but not a lot of covering of mouths, consider this my PSA.
So where was I? The flu shot? What does that have to do with Ebola?
The flu shot doesn’t protect us against Ebola, nor is there any vaccine that currently does. But then, only one New Yorker has Ebola at the moment. In the week that ended on October 11, on the other hand, the New York State Health Department already had 31 laboratory-confirmed influenza reports, a 63 percent increase from the week prior.
That was in early October. Flu season isn’t actually expected to peak until January or February, meaning the numbers are still to skyrocket. Then there’s this to consider: Ebola does not spread through the air. You need to have direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is infected or direct contact with objects (think syringes, needles) used on a victim.
The flu, on the other hand, is spread any time someone with the flu coughs or sneezes in your vicinity. You can catch the flu by touching a shopping cart handle that someone with the flu virus just used and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
As for the deadly factor of Ebola? Yes, it’s a terrifying disease, and one we should have thought about back when it began killing innocent people in Western Africa. But as I type this, Americans have been lucky. None have yet been killed by Ebola here in America.
The flu, on the other hand? Last season it killed 105 American children here in America (not to mention countless adults).
As a mom who sends her kid five days a week to a place where kids actively remove boogers from their noses only to wipe them on their buddy’s desk, do me a favor: get your flu shot, then get one for your kid.
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