Wellness Matters

Headache, Fever, Fatigue - Is it the flu or Ebola?

November 17, 2014

Recently, several local residents were monitored for possible symptoms of Ebola. However, it's the time of year where flu-like symptoms are on the rise. So if you experience a fever, headache and/or fatigue, how do you determine if it's the flu or if you've been exposed to Ebola?

Here are four things to know about both illnesses.

What is it?

Flu is a common contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and complications can lead to death.

Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with an Ebola virus.

How are the illnesses spread?

The flu is spread mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. It can sometimes be spread on surfaces. The flu virus can be spread before and during the illness.

Ebola can only be spread through direct contact with blood or body fluids from a person who is sick or who has died of Ebola. Ebola can’t be spread in the air or by water or food.

Who can get the illnesses?

Anyone can get the flu virus. Young children, older adults and people with some health conditions are at high risk of serious complications from the virus. Learn more here.

Ebola isn't easily contracted by anyone. Those most at risk of getting Ebola are family and friends who've had direct contact with blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola.

What are the signs and symptoms of the illnesses?

Flu signs and symptoms usually develop within two days after exposure. The following symptoms can come quickly and all at once:
  • Fever or feeling feverish
  • Headache
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Feeling very tired (fatigue)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose

Ebola signs and symptoms can appear two to 21 days after exposure. The following symptoms can develop over several days and become progressively more severe:
  • Fever
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Feeling very tired (fatigue)
  • Vomiting and diarrhea develop after three to six days
  • Weakness (can be severe)
  • Stomach pain
  • Unexplained bleeding or bruising

If you develop any of the above signs and symptoms, Cone Health has the capacity to care for you.

For more information on Ebola and how Cone Health has prepared, visit the Cone Health website.

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