There is no doubt that Ebola is a scary disease. The question is should you be scared? The answer in my opinion is, no. There are many health issues to worry about in this country. Ebola is not at the top of the list.

First, let’s get educated. What is Ebola?

Ebola is an infectious disease caused by a virus that is primarily seen in Africa. The symptoms include fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and unexplained bleeding. Symptoms occur between 2 and 21 days after exposure. The fatality rate is 50%. If someone recovers they are immune for 10 years.

The disease is spread by direct contact with blood and body fluids that include urine, sweat, saliva, blood, vomit, breast milk and semen with someone who is infected with Ebola. Contaminated needles and medical equipment can also spread it. Ebola is not spread by air or water. Those most at risk for catching the disease are family and healthcare workers who live and/or care for Ebola patients.

If you are someone who flies or is flying to Africa then take precautions as dictated by the Centers for Disease Control for those entering the countries at high risk for the virus. If not….

It is time to get some perspective. The media loves drama. Although the disease is spreading in Africa, there have been 3 cases thus far in the US. Two were in Texas and one in New York. The risk of Ebola coming to a town near you and spreading is relatively small. It makes far more sense, if you are concerned about your health to focus on what will really makes a difference.

Protect yourself from the flu that kills an average of 30,000 people in the US every year. You can do that by washing your hands frequently, keeping them away from your face, exercising regularly, reducing your stress, getting plenty of rest, and eating healthy foods that boost immunity. That would include plenty of garlic and onions and maitake and shitake mushrooms. Most importantly don’t forget to get your flu shot this year.

Granted Ebola is a devastating disease, but it is a distraction from what is really important for those of us in the United States. Let common sense prevail. It is time to focus on how each of us can become the healthiest people we can be.