Fearing Ebola? Doctors say get a flu shot

Oct 30, 2014 3:18 PM by News Staff

CHICAGO (AP) - Hospital doctors and nurses say there are a lot of people turning up at the E-R, thinking they have Ebola.

At a medical conference in Chicago, they've been swapping stories -- including one about an Ohio woman who thought she had Ebola simply because her husband had worked in Dallas, but not with the Ebola patient. Then there was a New Mexico woman who sought ER testing for Ebola because she had visited Africa two years ago. And two patients in Alabama were worried they were infected after traveling through an airport in Atlanta, the same city where Ebola patients were treated.

Even though the chances are astronomically higher that people actually have the flu or some other bug, Ebola can't always be automatically ruled out. So a patient with the flu could trigger a full-court press in the ER -- with the patient being isolated, and ER staff grabbing the hazmat suits.

Doctors say it's one reason why it's especially important for people to get their flu shots this year. Fewer flu cases could mean fewer Ebola false-alarms tying up staff and resources in busy emergency rooms.


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