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Why You Should Not Over Worry About Ebola

Why You Should Not Over Worry About Ebola

With the recent news that a second health care worker has contracted the Ebola virus at a Dallas hospital while tending to the Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, fears of Ebola are now magnifying. Are these fears justified? Before you reach for your hazmat suit, let us look at the facts.

A Brief History of the Ebola Virus

Named after the Ebola River in Zaire (now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Ebola was first discovered in 1976. The first outbreak infected 300 people. There are different strains of the virus ranging from Ebola-Zaire (EBOZ), Ebola Reston (EBOR), and Ebola Cote d-Ivoire (EBO-CI). Although Ebola’s natural reservoir has not been identified directly, it has been theorized that it might be apes, monkeys, fruit bats or a combination thereof. Scientists now believe that apes catch it from eating food on which bats have left bodily fluids, such as saliva, or by coming into contact with surfaces covered in the bodily fluids of infected bats. According to Doctors Without Borders, the current 2014 outbreak seems to have started in a village near Guéckédou, Guinea, where the hunting and consumption of bats is common.

Mechanisms of the Ebola virus

The Ebola virus infects cells by injecting its viral RNA into the host cell. Once in the host cell, the Ebola virus makes more copies of the itself, which, in turn, infect other cells. This is a mechanism that many viruses utilize to infect their host. To better understand this concept, imagine the way a person commits identity theft. A hacker will take over one person’s email account and use that account to break down the barriers of other accounts.

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How contagious is the Ebola Virus? 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a person infected with Ebola can only spread the disease when symptoms appear. This is usually called the incubation period. For Ebola, this period is 2-21 days on average.

Treatment

Although there are currently no drugs or vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat or prevent Ebola, there have been signs of hope. Dr. Kent Brantly donated his plasma to Dallas nurse Nina Phama who was infected when treating Thomas Eric Duncan. The plasma includes antibodies and may help a patient’s resistance to the virus. Dr. Kent Brantly also donated plasma to the first Ebola patient treated in Omaha, Dr. Rick Sacra, who has recovered from the disease.

Prevention

In order to avoid infection, one must avoid direct contact (either through broken skin or through eyes, nose, or mouth) with anyone that is showing symptoms of severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, stomach pain and/or unexplained bleeding. Also, one should practice careful hygiene by washing their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. One thing to keep in mind is that the Ebola virus does not transmit through the air like the flu. The virus can also be easily killed on surfaces utilizing bleach and alcohol-based products.

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What is being done to prevent the spread of the Ebola Virus?

There are numerous resources and organizations which are devoted to maintaining active surveillance on the Ebola virus and supporting at-risk countries to develop preparedness plans that could limit further spread. The CDC and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) are working with U.S. government agencies, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other domestic and international partners to contain the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa and prepare for possible outbreaks in other countries.

Local departments of health, such as the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), are sending out memos to all healthcare staff in large and small organizations that outline how to report Ebola on a timely basis, how to identify symptoms and ask for travel history, and how to protect themselves and patients from contracting and spreading of the virus.

The CDC as well as state health authorities are also closely monitoring all persons that have come into contact with confirmed Ebola cases.

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Healthcare organization across the Unites States are also preparing by assembling teams to combat further spread of the virus. One example is The Mount Sinai Health System in New York, which is in the process of creating an Ebola SWAT team that can respond immediately to any of its facilities. The team of infectious-disease experts will help with the intake process of any patient that might be infected with the virus. This also includes setting up protocols designed to keep a patient in isolation prior to the team’s arrival.

According to the American Medical Association (AMA) the CDC is also establishing an Ebola response team that will be dispatched to any hospital in the country that has a confirmed case of Ebola. The team will include experts in infection control, laboratory science, personal protective equipment and management of Ebola units.

Although a deadly disease, the average person should not fear catching Ebola. Unlike the flu virus that can spread around the world in a few days or weeks, the mode of transmission of Ebola causes localized outbreaks that can usually be contained.  

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Further information on Ebola can be found on:

http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/

http://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/en/

http://nysaap.org/pdf/NYSDOHEbolaUpdate.pdf

Featured photo credit: Picture captured by Ryan McGuire of Bells Design via gratisography.com

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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