For those of you “sick” about hearing of Ebola, read my last post on Fire Prevention! But in the spirit of preparedness, it makes sense to get educated on Infectious Disease and what you can do to prevent the spread. Though there are specific protocols for healthcare workers who may be exposed to Ebola that need to be followed, everyone can help stop the spread of infectious disease by following a few simple steps.
1) Wash your hands. We need to wash after we are in contact with the public, money, and especially before we eat or drink anything. This is tough, and may involve using wipes or alcohol based sanitizers if that is all we have.
2) Take sickness more seriously than in the past. Fevers, in particular, are nothing to mess with. Do not go to work, school, or social occasions if you have an active fever, running nose, an active cough, or are sneezing.
3) Quarantine and sanitize. Isolate sick people even at home. For parents, this seems almost impossible. But the idea is not necessarily shoving them in a room and closing the door. It’s setting up an area of the house where people wash their hands and disinfect the door handles and any touched surface every time they enter and leave the area. Do not sleep with (move to another room) and do not share food, drinks, utensils, etc. with a sick person.
4) Be aware but not paranoid. Treat all sickness seriously, but don’t jump to the conclusion Ebola is everywhere and everyone can get it. Stress can make your immune system compromised and make you more susceptible to getting other illnesses. If you have come into contact with a person who is ill that has been traveling and you develop similar symptoms, of course, seek medical attention immediately. Let the providers know your circumstances so everyone can stay safe and not become part of a larger problem.
5) Get training. If you work in a medical facility or a service industry that could potentially come into contact with Ebola, make sure you have reviewed the http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/hcp/procedures-for-ppe.html and provide adequate training for your people. Understanding the procedures for donning, doffing, and decontaminating for infectious disease could be invaluable if you need them!