We’ve been watching the news about the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa for months now. As I write this, a lot of people are concerned that the virus is making it’s way to the U.S. as two of the victims, American health workers who have contracted the disease are being brought to a hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) in a recent speech, stated, “…this outbreak is moving faster than our efforts to control it. If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences can be catastrophic in terms of lost lives but also severe socioeconomic disruption and a high risk of spread to other countries.”
I am not a doctor or scientist, just a regular person who is wondering “what if?” A lot of sites have weighed in on this subject, and the news reports all assure the public that the virus will not spread here. But there are never any guarantees. All you can do is be aware of what’s going on, hope and pray that the virus is contained.
What is Ebola?
Ebola is a virus that causes a horrific hemorrhagic fever with up to a 90% death rate. The incubation period, or the time between a person is infected until they show symptoms is between 2-21 days. Symptoms start out like the flu, with cough, sore throat, malaise, fever, aches and pains, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. At advanced stages, victims get severe bruising and rashes, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting, bleeding from eyes, nose, mouth, multiple organ failure leading to death. No doubt, it’s a nasty, terrible disease.
How do you prevent it?
From what I have read, preventing it means staying away from blood, secretions and other bodily fluids from infected persons who are symptomatic. Caregivers must be covered from head to toe, with impenetrable materials to avoid accidentally coming into contact with bodily fluids. According to the Doom and Bloom Ebola update,
“It’s thought that Ebola doesn’t spread until a victim develops symptoms. As the illness progresses, however, bodily fluids from diarrhea, vomiting, and bleeding become very contagious. Poor hygiene and lack of proper medical supplies in underdeveloped countries, such as in West Africa impede the progress of medical authorities to tame the outbreak. The best they can do is isolate sick individuals as best they can and follow infectious disease precautions. This is something they are, apparently, not doing so well, because so many medical personnel are getting sick. When the doctors and nurses are dying, you know you have an illness about which to be truly concerned. Imagine if the disease becomes worldwide.”
Is there a cure?
There is no known cure for Ebola; there is no vaccine either. The only thing that can be done for patients is to keep them comfortable and hydrated, while the patient fights the virus and hopefully gets better on their own.
What can you do to prepare?
We don’t have any control over much of what happens in these developments, all we can do is be aware of what’s happening so we can decide what to do if anything happens. Just the fact that you’re reading this means you are concerned enough to prepare. Here are some tips to cope:
- Don’t panic – This is the last thing you need. If you are full of fear you will be incapacitated and unable to make proper decisions
- Have a discussion with your close family members about the situation. Talk about how you feel and what you would do “just in case” Things to consider are: At what point would you miss work or keep kids home from school if there is an outbreak of some kind? Would you hunker in your home or stay someplace else?
- Keep close tabs on the news – be aware of what’s going on. Learn the facts and stay away from sensationalistic or fear mongering stories. Here’s a good article 12 Things You Must Know about Ebola by James Hubbard, M.D.
- Know the laws about quarantine and isolation: legal authorities will do what is necessary to stop the spread of disease, including quarantining and isolating possibly infected people if warranted..
- Learn how to sanitize your home with bleach. See Cleaning and Sanitizing with Bleach after an Emergency
- Stock up on bleach, disposable gloves, masks, toilet paper, trash bags, water, food, first aid supplies, to last for a month just in case.
- Read The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story I was terrified to read about the first time the Ebola virus reached the U.S. (suburb of Washington, D.C.) back in the 80s. Though the story was downplayed at the time, it really happened and now it’s about to arrive again.
- See my recent article, How an Average Person can Prepare for a Pandemic for more tips on how to prepare.
From the news reports, the treatment facility that will be receiving the patients is well-equipped with isolation environments, protective equipment and everything needed to keep the patients stable. We’re assured that the personnel are experienced in handling infectious diseases and well-trained in all protocols to protect themselves and everyone else. I pray for the victims and their caregivers and hope there are no mishaps.
I hope these tips are helpful. By being aware of what’s going on, and taking a few sensible steps, you will sleep a lot better at night.
© Apartment Prepper 2014