INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – With so many Americans on edge about Ebola, doctors say, don’t forget about the flu this year, especially when celebrating Thanksgiving with family.
Doctors say, despite the Ebola hysteria, chances are considerably higher of getting the flu.
And unlike Ebola, a flu vaccine is available.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the flu kills anywhere from 3,000 to 48,000 people each year in the United States.
As deadly as this is, the CDC says nearly 60 percent of adults and 43 percent of kids on average don’t get vaccinated.
Compare that to Ebola, for which several people have been diagnosed or brought to the U.S. for treatment, but only two have died.
Dr. Christopher Belcher, medical director of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, said the flu typically affects 20 percent of the U.S. population.
He says, especially on days like Thanksgiving when families get together, a healthy person can still get others sick.
“Influenza vaccine benefits you but it also benefits the whole society,” Dr. Belcher said. “You may have other people who get sick at home, at work, and you’re benefitting them. Some of them may have those underlying medical problems, like asthma or heart disease or cancer, and you’re helping those other people as well.”
Dr. Belcher said, anyone worried about Ebola should get a flu shot because some symptoms, like fever and muscle aches, are the same.
Flu season typically peaks from December to February.