I don’t encourage panic or fear regardless of the topic. I don’t encourage listening to rumors or extremisms in media hype. I don’t encourage “research” through propaganda sites because they will never, ever have the truth, about anything.
I encourage learning about the topic from unbiased sources because while it might sound trite, I believe that knowledge is power.
Well… I’m much more concerned about Strep throat, Laryngitis, Bronchitis, Shingles, Measles, Whooping Cough, and Influenza. I’m far more likely to get any of those.
My children and I are far more likely to come into contact with the Enterovirus, which is actively killing children and adults in multiple countries because it presents as a cold at first. But it’s causing paralysis. Difficulties breathing to the point of not breathing. The CDC says that
“because it is a respiratory illness, the virus can be found in an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum. EV-D68 likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches a surface that is then touched by others.”
That means that direct contact is not needed. All you have to do is go shopping, to a movie, a restaurant, church, school, work, a baby shower, a wedding reception, and anywhere else there are people interacting.
There is no treatment. No protocol. Nice, right?
At least with Ebola there’s a strict protocol. It’s highly infectious, after all, and I’m not ignoring that.
The 2014 in West Africa’s Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea has killed more than 4,000 people; and since it has a 50% mortality rate there, maybe higher, double the number of people who have had it and survived. It is not a death sentence. Perhaps in West Africa it’s close to a death sentence, but not here in the United States where we have better medical facilities and research facilities and healthcare workers.
Strike that.We HAVE medical facilities, research facilities, and healthcare workers.
Have you seen photos of the so-called hospitals in Liberia? Tents have to serve as clinics and hospitals.
And we send the healthcare workers there, but there are so many people there who aren’t educated about Ebola. We just sent our military over there a couple of weeks ago to West Africa. Did you know that? Do you know why? To build hospitals. If I recall correctly, to build seven hospitals because they don’t have any. Well… this is what they call hospitals there, which people are afraid to go to (I’ve read) because they feel that they have a higher likelihood of dying if they seek treatment in them:
Close family members and medical personnel in direct, frequent contact with a very sick, progressed person that has Ebola is at risk. That’s why over 200 medical staff over the world, mostly in West Africa, have died from Ebola themselves.
But for most people, my own research consistently say that you can’t easily contract Ebola. It doesn’t hang out in the body for months, incubating and waiting to pounce when you least expect it. It can’t be transmitted by insects. You can’t get it simply by sitting next to someone who isn’t visibly sick anywhere in public because an exchange of bodily fluids has to occur. Getting coughed on? Unlikely to infect anyone.
It CAN BE contained due to the nature of the disease, but the reason it’s such a problem in West Africa right now; they’re unable to contain it due to poor health facilities, poor general knowledge of prevention, non-sterile conditions, frequent contact between contagious individuals with lots of bodily fluids touching non-sick individuals, and people that are sick refusing to go attempt to get care because they believe it will kill them. There was even a news report that one woman who was actively sick and showing signs of contagion, a self-proclaimed healer, was going village to village infecting people by telling them she could heal their sick but was actually actively spreading the illness. Perhaps that was one of those stories that’s now myth, but the concept is likely: a person that’s infected doesn’t isolate themselves, doesn’t seek treatment, and goes around to infect others while contagious and showing symptoms while gooey.
The other diseases I’ve mentioned? They can’t be contained here in the U.S because of the nature of the diseases. Some can be vaccinated against, luckily, but with the current anti-vaxx movement thanks to Vaccine Denialists the U.S. is becoming a germ pit.
But I digress.
I don’t worry about contracting Ebola, and I let my children know that. I let them know that it’s a very serious disease, just like other serious diseases, but that it’s unlikely they’ll be in a situation where they would be in direct contact with someone who is contagious with Ebola. No fear. Do not feed the fear. I let them know when I’m concerned about something, but I won’t feed the fear.
While I worry more about the other diseases like Enterovirus, I instruct the girls to do as we always do: wash your hands. Don’t touch your face without washing your hands. Don’t share utensils. Don’t lick surfaces. ;-) Don’t use water fountains. Don’t sit near someone who is gooey, spewing, hacking, drooling from the mouth or nose, blowing into tissues frequently that isn’t tossing those tissues and not washing hands. Don’t shake hands at church (it’s not being unfriendly, you can still offer peace be with you).
Without feeding the fears, you can be conscientious and thoughtful about your family and the community you and your family live and work and play in. Because while you think you need to get to work, you don’t have the right to infect your coworkers, customers, clients, consumers, or anyone else. If your children are sick and have had vomiting, fever, or diarrhea don’t you dare send them to school until they have been free of those things for 24 hours without the aid of medications. You don’t have the right to send your child to school to infect other people’s children and their families, forcing them to have to take sick days, especially children whose immune systems may be compromised. You don’t have the right to infect school staff, bus drivers, or anyone else. If that happens, take responsibility.
Be conscientious. Be a good citizen AND be a good parent. Don’t risk a relapse by sending your child to school too soon because you couldn’t take an “extra” sick day. You risk having to take several additional sick days by forcing a relapse. If that happens, take responsibility.
I think this infographic is great for trying to avoid the common cold and other respiratory illnesses. My favorite bit of advice is “stay home when you’re sick.”