Thursday, October 9, 2014

Responding to an Ebola Outbreak

1)  Respond appropriately, but don't be controlled by fear

It's essential to take precautions in order to prevent the spread of Ebola, doing all that we can do to prepare for the worst. However, once we have done all that we can do, I think it's equally important to let go of fear. 

To defeat Ebola and the fear of Ebola, we must take advantage of every medicine available. An ancient proverb says, "A cheerful heart is a good medicine." To use the medicine of a "cheerful heart", we must avoid living in constant fear. The only way to overcome fear is by looking it in the face. Imagine the worst possible scenario - sickness or even death of loved ones or yourself - and be at peace with it. Know that life is good, even if you're barely hanging on to it. Know that your positivity during dark times will be an example to others. None of us know when we will die, so the most important thing is living to the fullest as long as we are alive. 

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference." (Serenity Prayer)

2) Be Mindful of Contact: "Reducing the risk of human-to-human transmission from direct or close contact with people with Ebola symptoms, particularly with their bodily fluids. Gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn when taking care of ill patients at home. Regular hand washing is required after visiting patients in hospital, as well as after taking care of patients at home" (Link). Consider traveling with hand sanitizer. Also, if you're not married, get to know any new dates prior to being intimate with them. This is a good idea anyways, since it can prevent other diseases as well.

3) Respond as a Community; "Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe burials and social mobilization" (Link).

4) Become more self reliant. When disasters strike, the families that are the most self reliant feel the least impact. Because natural disasters are hard to predict, having a safety net is a good goal anyways. This might mean stocking up on canned food, learning how to grow your own vegetables, learning how and where to fish and even owning your own egg-laying chickens (if possible). All of these things can actually improve your present health while providing a safer future.

6) Consider Moving if at least 0.5% of your city has Ebola (1 out of every 500 people). If your city or town becomes an Ebola hotspot, this will likely damage the local economy as well. Why stick around when you can move somewhere with a safer environment and stronger economy? Remember that, in case of an endemic or a complete economic collapse, the most valuable currency is food. For this reason, try to join a self-reliant community where you can fish, farm, harvest your own produce, raise chicken for eggs and cows, sheep or goats for milk.

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