With all the news and worry about Ebola, doctors say many people are ignoring a much greater health threat in the U.S. - the flu.
Flu season has arrived in Southern California, and it kills far more Americans each year than Ebola. It's also preventable.
Many local emergency rooms are testing for the flu because of the Ebola fears, and the hospitals are seeing more cases of flu than expected.
But unlike the deadly virus, the simple fact is that the flu can be prevented by vaccine, which can be given by shot or by the inhaled mist. The treatment can prevent 60 to 90 percent of flu cases.
There are only eight known Ebola cases in the U.S., and most of those cases were contracted in West Africa.
Those eight cases have spurred fears across the country, yet 5 to 20 percent of all Americans get the flu every year, or 15 million to 6o million people.
And although reporting is not mandatory, the CDC estimates that between 3,000 and 49,000 flu deaths in America each year are preventable. Yet less than 50 percent of Americans get the flu vaccine.
People choose to avoid the vaccine, arguing that it causes aches and pains, isn’t worth it, they never get the flu or that they already got it last year.
The vaccine only lasts one year, however. It prevents the flu 60 percent of the time and it may cause a few aches and pains, but it never causes the flu itself.
The CDC suggests everyone get the vaccine unless they have an egg vaccine, due to the vaccine’s egg base.
It is most important for pregnant women and young children, the elderly, people with medicla problems and health workers.
The shot contains dead virus, so it can be given to everyone who is not allergic to eggs
The mist contains live virus it is only for people aged 2 to 49 years old
This years vaccine contains protection against h1n1 and a number of influenza viruses, and health professionals are encouraging everyone to take advantage of the vaccination.