Common cold and the flu are both caused by viruses, and they are often confused. There is a lot of overlap in symptoms, however there are important differences. The cold is much more common, and the flu is much more serious.
Both can include:
sore throat, cough, sneezing
headache and body aches
minimal or no fever
fever and chills are the hallmark of the flu
sudden onset, beginning with high fever, body aches, and loss of energy
can develop marked cough and shortness of breath within several days of onset
A mild case of the flu is generally worse than a bad cold. Many people mistakenly believe that their, “Flu shot didn’t work,” because they mistake what is really a cold for the flu.
The flu shot does not prevent colds. There is no shot available to do so.
With high heat and humidity, watch for signs of heat-related stress. Symptoms include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or fainting. People experiencing symptoms should be moved to a cool, shady or air-conditioned area and provided cool, non-alcoholic beverages.
Among those at highest risk for heat stroke or heat exhaustion are:
Infants and children up to 4 years of age.
People 65 and older.
People who are overweight.
People who overexert during work or exercise.
People who are ill or on certain medications.
To help prevent heat-related stress, drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol and caffeine; they can add to dehydration and increase the effects of heat illness. Also, avoid outdoor activities during the hottest parts of the day. Friends, family, and neighbors are urged to monitor the very young, the chronically ill, and the elderly for signs of heat stress.
The federal government operates the Emergency Alert System (EAS). In case of an emergency, EAS alerts interrupt regularly scheduled shows on broadcast media, cable television, pagers, Direct Broadcast Satellite, High Definition Television, and Video Dial Tone. EAS alerts account for the deaf and hard of hearing, as well as people who speak different languages.
To access this information during a power outage, it is best to have a battery operated (with plenty of extra batteries) or wind-up radio.
Refrigerated and frozen foods can pose serious health risks after a power outage. Throw away any product if there is any doubt about its safety. Typically, food inside a refrigerator will stay cold for about four hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is and if the door remained closed. High-protein foods, such as dairy products, meat, fish and poultry, cannot be stored safely at room temperature. A freezer at least half-full should be able to keep foods frozen for about one day if the door remained closed.
Throw away any food products that are questionable or have obvious signs of spoilage; slime, mold or wilting. When in doubt, throw it out.
A person requires a half a gallon of water or other non-alcoholic liquids each day. Meeting this requirement after a water outage can be difficult. If you temporarily lost water service, it is important to boil your water vigorously for at least three minutes before using it, or use bottled water. Follow local water advisories issued after water service has been restored.
Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks and is most common in Ohio between May and August.
It has been several years since there has been a confirmed case of Lyme disease in Cuyahoga County and no confirmed cases in Shaker Heights (though not all Lyme disease is diagnosed). The increasing deer population in Shaker Heights represents little Lyme disease threat to most Shaker residents. While deer are a reproductive host for the blacklegged tick, rodents (primarily the white-footed mouse) are the primary carriers of Lyme disease. Studies in urban and suburban areas do not demonstrate that decreasing the deer populations decreases the occurrence of Lyme disease.
The greatest risk of tick exposure in Shaker Heights would come from small wooded areas, tall grass or weeds, bushes or leaf debris. Ticks do not thrive in mowed lawns or short grass, so the risk in a maintained yard is low. Protecting yourself from ticks and knowing how to identify a bite are the best ways to avoid any consequences. Read more about Lyme disease in Ohio and how to protect yourself from ticks online at the Ohio Department of Health.
Infected mosquitoes are the primary source of West Nile virus and caused the recent outbreaks in the United States. There is no evidence to suggest that ticks or other insects transmit West Nile virus.
There is currently no evidence that West Nile virus can be spread directly from birds to people. However, dead birds can carry a variety of diseases and, therefore, should never be handled with bare hands. Use gloves to carefully place dead birds in double-plastic bags and then place in the outdoor trash.
No. Illnesses related to mosquito bites are still uncommon. However, you should see a doctor immediately if you develop symptoms such as high fever, confusion, muscle weakness, severe headaches, stiff neck, or if your eyes become sensitive to light. Patients with mild symptoms should recover completely, and do not require any specific medication or laboratory testing.
Evidence indicates that the chance of human infection and illness resulting from West Nile virus is very low. Even in infected areas only about one percent of mosquitoes carry the virus. Of those bitten by an infected mosquito, less than one percent is likely to develop serious infection. People older than fifty, especially the elderly, are those most likely to get seriously ill if they become infected, and should, therefore, take the greatest care to prevent exposure to mosquito bites.
Zika virus is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes, and there is no indication that it can spread person to person through casual contact. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed the first U.S. case of Zika virus infection in a non-traveler in the continental United States after the person's sexual partner returned from an affected area and developed symptoms. The disease has historically occurred in Africa, Southeast Asia and islands in the Pacific Ocean. In May 2015, Zika virus was found for the first time in the Western Hemisphere in northeastern Brazil. The virus has since spread through much of the Caribbean, Central America and South America. The CDC maintains an updated list of affected countries and territories as well as associated travel advisories.
Most people (80 percent) infected with Zika virus do not have any symptoms. Of those who do experience symptoms, they are usually mild and include fever, rash, joint pain or conjunctivitis (red eyes). Other symptoms can include muscle pain and headache. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. Despite these relatively mild symptoms, health officials are investigating a possible association between Zika virus infections in pregnant women and birth defects.
During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in the blood and passed from an infected person to another mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.
Zika may also be transmitted through sexual contact. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends men with a pregnant sex partner abstain from sexual activity or consistently and correctly use condoms during sex for the duration of the pregnancy.
The primary mosquito that transmits Zika virus is Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito. This mosquito is found in the tropics and southern United States. It not established in Ohio. Aedes albopictus, the Asian tiger mosquito, may potentially transmit Zika virus in the United States, although it has not yet been implicated in the transmission of human cases. This mosquito has been identified in 37 Ohio counties and likely occurs in others. As a precaution, it is recommend that suspected cases of Zika avoid mosquito exposure for the week after symptom onset when mosquitoes are active in Ohio (May to October) in order to prevent the possibility that mosquitoes might become infected by biting an infected person and then transmitted the virus to other people.
According to the CDC, there have been no reported cases of Zika virus disease transmission through mosquito bites in Ohio or anywhere else in the continental United States at this time. However, cases have been reported in travelers returning to the United States.
All people traveling to areas with Zika virus transmission should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites. These precautions include:
Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
Staying in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
Sleeping under a mosquito bed net if outside and not able to protect against mosquito bites.
Wearing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. All EPA-registered insect repellents have been evaluated for effectiveness.
Always follow the product label instructions.
Reapply repellent as instructed.
Do not spray insect repellent underneath clothing.
Apply sunscreen to skin first then insect repellent.
Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months of age.
Treating clothing and gear with permethrin or purchase of permethrin-treated items. Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings.
Because of the possible association between Zika virus infections in pregnant women and certain birth defects, CDC recommends that pregnant women consider postponing travel to any area where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. More information on Zika virus infection and pregnancy is available on CDC's website.
Specific areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing are often difficult to determine and are likely to change over time. Please visit the CDC Travelers' Health site for the most updated information.