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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 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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