4 Ways to Protect Yourself from Ebola
Despite assurances that protocols are in place to keep Ebola from spreading, Texas still does not have the virus contained.
Since September 30th, when Thomas Duncan--a traveler from Liberia--was diagnosed with Ebola in a Texas hospital, a number of troubling questions have been raised.
First, you have to ask how a man traveling from West Africa who had recently had contact with an Ebola patient was allowed into the country.
Then, you have to ask why the hospital didn't recognize the possibility that Duncan had Ebola the first time he sought help two days before he was actually hospitalized.
And of course, it's important to ask what training and protocols hospitals are using when faced with an Ebola patient. Especially since multiple nurses who treated Duncan have been diagnosed with the virus.
We warned you early this summer that this Ebola outbreak was going to be different … that it was going to travel farther and claim more lives than any previous outbreak.
I’m not happy to say that we were right.
Is a Widespread U.S. Outbreak
of Ebola Inevitable?
After a second nurse was confirmed to have Ebola, the CDC and Texas public health officials have stepped up their precautions.
Hospital workers who have treated Ebola patients or handled lab work from those patients are being actively monitored. They are not allowed to enter public places.
Now it's a waiting game. Will anyone else get sick? And will anyone else bring the infection into the country through other cities like New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles.
This Ebola Strain is Easier to Catch…
One of the most troubling things about the current outbreak is that it is so infectious. Why, if Ebola is spread only through direct contact with bodily fluids, are so many doctors and nurses getting sick despite wearing protective gear and following protocols?
The World Health Organization has offered an explanation. This strain of Ebola is simply easier to catch. Transmission through aerosolized droplets (coughing and sneezing) is possible. It’s also possible to catch Ebola by coming into contact with a contaminated surface.
In the past, it’s been possible to ignore Ebola outbreaks because you had a high degree of certainty that they would never reach where you live. And it was comforting to think that the disease was hard to catch.
Neither is true anymore. But if you follow the steps I'm about to share with you, you can be sure that you and your family will avoid exposure due to any other travelers who carry Ebola into the country.
- If you’re meeting someone new, ask about where they’re from before you have physical contact with them. If they’re from West Africa, ask how recently they arrived in your neck of the woods. If the answer is less than three weeks, politely decline physical contact.
- Pay attention to your local news. In Dallas, doctors promptly alerted the public to the situation as soon as they had confirmed that Ebola was in play. This step helped them in their containment efforts.
- Know the symptoms. Ebola triggers a high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, and unexplained bleeding. If you have any combination of these symptoms and any reason at all to think you may have been in contact with the virus, get to a hospital right away.
- If you’re identified as someone who has come in contact with an Ebola patient, cooperate with public health officials. Limit your exposure to other people. Closely monitor yourself. At the first sign of fever, seek medical help.
Ebola is a deadly, high infectious virus. Fortunately, it is also one that we understand—and have the capability to contain. Now is not the time to panic. But it is the time to stay very alert to the potential for danger.