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CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) – Because of recent Ebola fears, health officials urge everyone to get their flu shots, especially since flu symptoms are similar to signs of Ebola.

A person walks into the emergency room complaining of being sick and is showing symptoms of Ebola. But in reality, they weren’t infected by Ebola but are merely suffering from the flu. The Hamilton County Health Department says the situation can easily create concern based on the same symptoms of fever, sore throat, body aches and vomiting.

"The symptoms is really what’s in common. The viruses are very different," said Hamilton County Program Manager Connie Buecker.

One way to avoid confusion about an illness similar to the flu is to get a flu shot. The Health Department is urging people to get the Quadrivalent flu vaccine. It has four different stains of flu. The vaccine won’t protect against Ebola but it will prevent confusion.

"What it can do is keep you from getting a fever where you might be worried or concerned that you might have Ebola," Buecker said.

The Centers for Disease Control is recommending people flu get shots right now; well before the actual start of flu season.

"I think their wanting people to get the vaccine while it’s still available and readily available to get their immunity built up. The years can be a bit unpredictable but our usual flu season is October through March but people can get the flu any time," Buecker said.

The flu is not only an illness that can make a person feel bad, it’s also an illness that has a history of killing people with weak immune systems.

"It can lead to pneumonia and other full body responses," Buecker said.

Health experts also advise parents to get flu shots if their child is too young to get a shot. Parents who don’t get the vaccine are at risk of infecting their child.

For more information about flu shots, contact the Hamilton County Department of Health.

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