News reports continue to tell the tale of the Ebola virus, which is spreading through West Africa; the World Health Organization estimates almost 1,500 are dead due to the disease from this current outbreak.
And while the Ebola threat is real overseas, a far more ominous virus is undoubtedly marching its way toward Nevada in the coming months: influenza.

“Despite the seriousness of the flu, people don’t seem to recognize the urgency of protecting themselves and those around them by getting an annual flu vaccine,” said Immunize Nevada Executive Director Heidi Parker. “With all of the attention on Ebola right now, it’s important to remind people: Flu is the No. 1 cause of infectious disease death, and it is — unlike Ebola — an actual, direct threat to Nevadans.”
While the height of flu season is months away, Nevadans should start thinking now about how to protect themselves. The best bet: an annual flu vaccine, which are already available in many local pharmacies and doctor offices.

“An annual vaccination is the best prevention strategy we have against flu,” Parker said.
Each year, an estimated 20 percent of the U.S. population gets flu, with more than 200,000 people finding themselves hospitalized, missing work and unable to recover quickly. The CDC estimates that flu kills between 3,000 and 49,000 people each year, including many young, perfectly healthy people.

“It’s important for us to try to re-direct attention to the flu,” said Parker. “Flu is going to be in Washoe County. It’s going to be in Clark County. It’s going to be in rural parts of the state. If you find yourself hearing frightening stories about Ebola and feeling nervous, try shifting that concern to a real threat instead. The flu is serious, and a quick and easy flu vaccination is your best option for not getting it this year.”

This flu season, Immunize Nevada is encouraging Nevadans to pair up for the annual trek to get their vaccine, launching a “2 Against Flu” campaign.

“Exercising, eating right, even getting a flu vaccine is easier and can even be fun when you do it with a friend,” said Parker. “And the nice part is, most insurance plans cover the cost of the vaccine.”