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Michael Weilert MD Ebola suit

While Ebola might sound scary, and indeed it’s better to be safe than sorry, you don’t need to walk around wearing a suit like this to stay safe.

No doubt, Ebola has been freaking out a lot of people.  It’s a scary disease; mysteriously appearing out of nowhere from West Africa, it’s infected thousands of people, and continues to run rampant.  For a while, Ebola had been relatively contained in West Africa, although it’s starting to show up in the US, with cases showing up in both Texas and New York City.  This might seem scary, but having a couple confirmed cases shouldn’t necessarily be a cause for panic.  The level of health care available in the US is dramatically different from what’s being offered in West Africa, meaning there’s little chance for Ebola to hit America as hard as it has Africa.  Even if somebody does get infected, supportive care will be provided swiftly.  Nonetheless, it certainly doesn’t hurt to take measures to be safe; I recently came across an article talking about some of the important steps for Ebola prevention.

1. Know the symptoms: Typical Ebola symptoms include fever, nausea, aches, pains, vomiting and diarrhea.  These usually show up during the “incubation period” of the virus, which typically lasts 8 to 10 days after infection.  In a small number of cases, bleeding from various orifices, as well as seizures and a loss of consciousness, have been reported when the infection isn’t addressed.  Without the proper care, death is possible within 12 days of being infected.

2. Know how you get it: Ebola is transmitted through direct contact, meaning that somebody will have to be splashed or sprayed with bodily fluids on their eyes, nose or mouth from an infected person to contract the virus.  Breaks or cuts in the skin are opening through which Ebola could seep and infect somebody.

3. Practice proper hygiene: Ebola can survive on dry surfaces for a few hours, and last up to several days in bodily fluids or in puddles at room temperature.  Bleach can kill the virus, so a regular wipe-down will help curb Ebola from taking hold.

4. Better Safe Than Sorry: There haven’t been any vaccines developed yet to combat Ebola, although clinical trials are currently underway.  This is why prevention is the best way to fight the virus.  At the slightest suspicion of an infection, especially when you think you might have come into contact with somebody who just came from Africa, make sure you get yourself checked out at the hospital.

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