Archive for October, 2014

ebola1The CDC tells us we have nothing to worry about, they got it all under control. Frankly whenever I hear someone say that I go ‘uhhuh’ and take steps to protect myself or take action of some sort without panicking. Panic is fear based ignorance. The more we know about something the easier it is to avoid panic. While I still strongly urge all readers to be prepared for social isolating (the only surefire way of prevention) it is my hope that this will give you some basic information (and not the half truths the CDC is putting out there) on Ebola that will help you understand and be more informed about the hemorrhagic fever, Ebola. At the moment it is NOT considered ‘airborne’ but I do consider ‘aerosol’ droplets to be airborne. See this to understand more. And if not ‘airborne’ then what’s up with the respirators?ebolaclean9

When Ebola first appeared on the world scene it had a death rate of 95% and often burned itself out very quickly. At this point it kills about 50% of those who contract it which points to mutation of the virus. Mother nature has a way of surviving all joking aside. You can’t infect if you kill everyone who gets it. Remember, it has been found still in the blood (which is why they are looking at survivors as potential sources of a cure and/or vaccine) and semen of survivors. If you want the most unvarnished truth about Ebola please visit the WHO website. Our government and doctors are NOT telling us everything we need to know about Ebola. But you will get the truth at WHO. Why are they not telling us the truth? To avoid panic of course. How’s that working? The government has even had the nerve to criticize the media for its reporting on Ebola. But we also have a balance on the other side of those doctors and others in the know who are getting the truth about Ebola out. They do a lot of talking with reassurances and little facts or half truths.

The information below I have taken directly from the WHO website.
Key facts
• Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
• The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
• The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.
• The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rainforests, but the most recent outbreak in west Africa has involved major urban as well as rural areas.
• 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.
• Early supportive care with rehydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is as yet no licensed treatment proven to neutralize the virus but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development.
• There are currently no licensed Ebola vaccines but 2 potential candidates are undergoing evaluation.
The Ebola virus causes an acute, serious illness which is often fatal if untreated. Ebola virus disease (EVD) first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, one in Nzara, Sudan, and the other in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter occurred in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.
The current outbreak in west Africa, (first cases notified in March 2014), is the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976. There have been more cases and deaths in this outbreak than all others combined. It has also spread between countries starting in Guinea then spreading across land borders to Sierra Leone and Liberia, by air (1 traveler only) to Nigeria, and by land (1 traveler) to Senegal.
The most severely affected countries, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have very weak health systems, lacking human and infrastructural resources, having only recently emerged from long periods of conflict and instability. On August 8, the WHO Director-General declared this outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
A separate, unrelated Ebola outbreak began in Boende, Equateur, an isolated part of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The virus family Filoviridae includes 3 genera: Cuevavirus, Marburgvirus, and Ebolavirus. There are 5 species that have been identified: Zaire, Bundibugyo, Sudan, Reston and Taï Forest. The first 3, Bundibugyo ebolavirus, Zaire ebolavirus, and Sudan ebolavirus have been associated with large outbreaks in Africa. The virus causing the 2014 west African outbreak belongs to the Zaire species.
It is thought that fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are natural Ebola virus hosts. Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.
Ebola then spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids (vomit, sneeze/coughing) of infected people and with surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids.
Health-care workers have frequently been infected while treating patients with suspected or confirmed EVD. This has occurred through close contact with patients when infection control precautions are not strictly practiced.
Burial ceremonies in which mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased person can also play a role in the transmission of Ebola.
People remain infectious as long as their blood and body fluids, including semen and breast milk, contain the virus. Men who have recovered from the disease can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to 7 weeks after recovery from illness.
Symptoms of Ebola virus disease
The incubation period, that is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms is 2 to 21 days. Humans are not infectious until they develop symptoms(fever is one). (so far as we know, but remember it is mutating). First symptoms are the sudden onset of fever, fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding (e.g. oozing from the gums, blood in the stools). Laboratory findings include low white blood cell and platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes.
It can be difficult to distinguish EVD from other infectious diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever and meningitis. Confirmation that symptoms are caused by Ebola virus infection are made using the following investigations:
• antibody-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
• antigen-capture detection tests
• serum neutralization test
• reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay
• electron microscopy
• virus isolation by cell culture.
Samples from patients are an extreme biohazard risk; laboratory testing on non-inactivated samples should be conducted under maximum biological containment conditions.
Treatment and vaccines
Supportive care-rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids- and treatment of specific symptoms, improves survival. There is as yet no proven treatment available for EVD. However, a range of potential treatments including blood products, immune therapies and drug therapies are currently being evaluated. No licensed vaccines are available yet, but 2 potential vaccines are undergoing human safety testing.
Prevention and control
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 (isolation). Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Raising awareness of risk factors for Ebola infection and protective measures that individuals can take is an effective way to reduce human transmission. Risk reduction messaging should focus on several factors:
• Reducing the risk of wildlife-to-human transmission from contact with infected fruit bats or monkeys/apes and the consumption of their raw meat. Animals should be handled with gloves and other appropriate protective clothing. Animal products (blood and meat) should be thoroughly cooked before consumption.
• 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. And keep your hands off your FACE!!!
• Outbreak containment measures including prompt and safe burial of the dead, identifying people who may have been in contact with someone infected with Ebola, monitoring the health of contacts for 21 days, the importance of separating the healthy from the sick to prevent further spread, the importance of good hygiene and maintaining a clean environment.

The WHO recommendations for cleaning up spills of blood or body fluids suggest flooding the area with a 1:10 dilutions of 5.25% household bleach for 10 minutes for surfaces that can tolerate stronger bleach solutions (e.g., cement, metal) Footnote 62. For surfaces that may corrode or discolor, they recommend careful cleaning to remove visible stains followed by contact with a 1:100 dilution of 5.25% household bleach for more than 10 minutes.

From the MSDS on Ebola:
MODE OF TRANSMISSION: In an outbreak, it is hypothesized that the first patient becomes infected as a result of contact with an infected animal (15). Person-to-person transmission occurs via close personal contact with an infected individual or their body fluids during the late stages of infection or after death (1, 2, 15, 27). Nosocomial infections can occur through contact with infected body fluids due to the reuse of unsterilized syringes, needles, or other medical equipment contaminated with these fluids (1, 2). Humans may be infected by handling sick or dead non-human primates and are also at risk when handling the bodies of deceased humans in preparation for funerals, suggesting possible transmission through aerosol droplets (2, 6, 28). In the laboratory, infection through small-particle aerosols has been demonstrated in primates, and airborne spread among humans is strongly suspected, although it has not yet been conclusively demonstrated (1, 6, 13). The importance of this route of transmission is not clear. Poor hygienic conditions can aid the spread of the virus (6).

INCUBATION PERIOD: Two to 21 days, more often 4 – 9 days (1, 13, 14).

COMMUNICABILITY: Communicable as long as blood, secretions, organs, or semen contain the virus. Ebola virus has been isolated from semen 61 days after the onset of illness, and transmission through semen has occurred 7 weeks after clinical recovery (1, 2)

: Ebola virus is susceptible to 3% acetic acid (vinegar), 1% glutaraldehyde, alcohol-based products, and dilutions (1:10-1:100 for ≥10 minutes) of 5.25% household bleach (sodium hypochlorite), and calcium hypochlorite (bleach powder) (48,49,50,62,63).
PHYSICAL INACTIVATION: Ebola are moderately thermolabile and can be inactivated by heating for 30 minutes to 60 minutes at 60ºC, boiling for 5 minutes, gamma irradiation (1.2 x106 rads to 1.27 x106 rads), and/or UV radiation (3, 6, 20, 32, 33).

SURVIVAL OUTSIDE HOST: The virus can survive in liquid or dried material for a number of days (23). Infectivity is found to be stable at room temperature or at 4°C (39 degrees) for several days, and indefinitely stable at -70°C (6, 20). Infectivity can be preserved by lyophilisation (a method of ‘drying’) My input here…that means surfaces!!!

SOURCES/SPECIMENS: Blood, serum, urine, respiratory and throat secretions, semen, and organs or their homogenates from human or animal hosts (1, 2, 35). Human or animal hosts, including non-human primates, may represent a further source of infection (35).

PRIMARY HAZARDS: Accidental parenteral inoculation, respiratory exposure to infectious aerosols and droplets, and/or direct contact with broken skin or mucous membranes (35).

SPECIAL HAZARDS: Work with, or exposure to, infected non-human primates, rodents, or their carcasses represents a risk of human infection (35).

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING: Personnel entering the laboratory must remove street clothing, including undergarments, and jewelry, and change into dedicated laboratory clothing and shoes, or don full coverage protective clothing (i.e., completely covering all street clothing). Additional protection may be worn over laboratory clothing when infectious materials are directly handled, such as solid-front gowns with tight fitting wrists, gloves, and respiratory protection. Eye protection must be used where there is a known or potential risk of exposure to splashes (39).

: All activities with infectious material should be conducted in a biological safety cabinet (BSC) in combination with a positive pressure suit, or within a class III BSC line. Centrifugation of infected materials must be carried out in closed containers placed in sealed safety cups, or in rotors that are unloaded in a biological safety cabinet. The integrity of positive pressure suits must be routinely checked for leaks. The use of needles, syringes, and other sharp objects should be strictly limited. Open wounds, cuts, scratches, and grazes should be covered with waterproof dressings. Additional precautions should be considered with work involving animal activities (39).


SPILLS: Allow aerosols to settle and, wearing protective clothing, gently cover spill with paper towels and apply suitable disinfectant, starting at the perimeter and working towards the centre. Allow sufficient contact time before clean up (39).

DISPOSAL: Decontaminate all materials for disposal from the containment laboratory by steam sterilisation, chemical disinfection, incineration or by gaseous methods. Contaminated materials include both liquid and solid wastes (39).

Information is now surfacing about the original ‘patient zero’ who happened to be a 2 year old. Patient zero is the starting point of a disease and from there it spreads to others building up until it burns itself out.

Here in the US, our patient zero is the Liberian man and yes, I do believe that they don’t have it under control. Sloppiness has been job number one from the beginning and while I do believe that we as a country are in a better position to make the odds of living after Ebola is contracted (which at this moment is 50/50 in Western Africa) why test it? Remember, all a virus wants to do is LIVE and REPRODUCE so killing every host isn’t helping it, so it has to mutate and I believe that carelessness (as seen at the airports and in Dallas) will be our undoing.

I do believe that simply because we have never had to face a pandemic in our generation, that there are too many holes in the system and cultural/medical attitudes that will allow this disease to spread here in the US. Not to mention that Ebola looks very similar in presentation to other, less deadly diseases so I do believe that cases, such as the man who lied to get into the US and landed in Dallas, will happen again and again until our government stops allowing people from the infested areas of Western Africa into our country or makes it mandatory to be quarantined for 21 days when entering our country from potentially infected countries. We have done this before…that is what Elis Island was…a point of entry and quarantine area for those who came to America potentially sick. This sounds harsh, but I believe in this case it is important to do until this current Pandemic is stopped.

Stay safe, be informed and be prepared. Knowledge is the antidote to fear.

ptsd triggersKind of tongue in cheek title, but with all do seriousness, I made it that way in an effort to make you think. PTSD symptoms do not happen in a vacuum. They might fade, disappear for a time but they never truly go ‘away’ forever. Think of it this way, the brain is like computer with a CD Rom that is always recording what is going on. When a traumatic event happens that too gets burned onto the CD. A trigger is like a command prompt or a file connected to the original event which then gets replayed. Or more simply put, a trigger is like pushing the on button unintentionally.
The best way I can describe how a trigger works in the real world is lets say as a child, said child (now adult) was abused. One very bad beating occurred because they wouldn’t eat green beans or even the broccoli or it could be the beating occurred just after eating it. In this child’s mind, the beating becomes associated with the broccoli. In adulthood, the abused child may avoid eating anything green or even something that looks like the broccoli. This is called avoidance. However, one time, the adult attends a dinner meeting in which the menu is preplanned and guess what is on the plate that is put in front of him? Broccoli. The adult then abruptly becomes very upset and seeks away out of the meeting (avoidance) in order to protect themselves when just seconds before they were laughing and enjoying themselves. Broccoli is the trigger that makes the adult remember the pain of the beating, the feelings of helplessness of not being able to stop the beating or get away.
Lets say a combat veteran or first responder hits a deer driving home and the deer is mangled, and when checking on the car/deer they smell the blood and see the mangled deer. The smell of blood alone could be a trigger into anxiety, anger or some other PTSD symptom. Seeing the mangled body of the deer could trigger memories of seeing someone who was seriously injured or killed which in turn releases all the original trauma memories and symptoms of PTSD occur.

In other instances, such as in finding a loved one or close friend who committed suicide may find PTSD symptoms triggered when they are home alone or find a picture of them accidentally. An domestic violence survivor may ‘freak out’ (PTSD) if she gets into an argument (trigger) with a new partner. A runner who just ran his best time may experience a racing heart if he doesn’t cool down properly, which in turn ‘triggers’ PTSD symptoms. Like I said, its not about the broccoli. Triggers are internal and external ‘cues’ that takes someone back to the original trauma and cause symptoms of PTSD in that moment…out of the blue so to speak.

PTSD triggers may be all around you or your loved one. And typically they fall into two categories. Internal Triggers and External Triggers. Internal triggers are things that you feel or experience inside your body. Internal triggers include thoughts or memories, emotions, and bodily sensations (for example, your heart racing). External triggers are situations, people, or places that you might encounter throughout your day (or things that happen outside your body). Listed below are some common internal and external triggers.
• Internal Triggers
o Anger
o Anxiety
o Sadness
o Memories
o Feeling lonely
o Feeling abandoned
o Frustration
o Feeling out of control
o Feeling vulnerable
o Racing heart beat
o Pain
o Muscle tension
• External Triggers
o An argument
o Seeing a news article that reminds you of your traumatic event
o Watching a movie or television show that reminds you of your traumatic event
o Seeing a car accident
o Certain smells
o The end of a relationship
o An anniversary
o Holidays
o A specific place
o Seeing someone who reminds you of a person connected to your traumatic event

So we see, its not about what is happening RIGHT NOW its about what happened during the traumatic event. But in daily life we can only employ avoidance strategies so long and many times we cannot avoid what may trigger symptoms of PTSD to reoccur. So the question becomes, if we can’t avoid triggers entirely then how do we live without being reactive and in a constant state of PTSD?
Identification of Triggers
An important note on increasing your awareness of triggers: while it is important to do so, be aware that doing so may cause you distress and to be uncomfortable. Some people might actually become triggered by trying to identify their triggers. Before taking steps to identify your triggers please be sure to let someone know what you are doing and have support available to you just incase you are triggered. Never try to push yourself too far. A little at time is all it takes.

The first step to avoid being side swiped by a trigger is to try and identify what your triggers are. When you are in a good place, think about when your PTSD symptoms usually come up. To identify your triggers ask yourself these types of questions: What types of situations are you in? What is happening around you? What kind of emotions are you feeling? What thoughts are you experiencing? What does your body feel like? Get a notebook and write down as many internal and external triggers as you can. Sometimes it can be hard for those with PTSD to identify their own triggers, so you may even want to ask your family and friends about what they believe or see your triggers are.
How to Cope with Your Triggers
Of course the best way of coping with triggers is to avoid them altogether. However, this is almost impossible to do. Why? Well, you cannot really avoid your thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations. Much of these are out of our control. In regard to external triggers, we can take some steps to manage our environment (for example, not going to certain places that we know will trigger us), but we cannot control everything that happens to us. For example, you might inadvertently come into contact with a news story or conversation that reminds you of your traumatic event.
Because we often cannot avoid triggers, it is important to learn ways of coping with triggers. After we figure out what the triggers are we are then free to ‘make a plan’ to effectively handle the symptoms of PTSD. Some effective and healthy coping strategies for lessening the impact of triggers include:
• Mindfulness- being in the moment
• Relaxation techniques
• Self-soothing techniques
• Grounding yourself
• Expressive writing (journaling)
• Social support
• Deep breathing
The more strategies you have the better off you will be in managing your triggers and the less likely you will turn to unhealthy coping strategies such as drugs, alcohol and isolating. Simply being more aware of what can trigger you can be of great help to you because you will have gained more awareness and thus, be more able to cope better. Awareness of your triggers allows you to begin to feel more in control and gives rise to better understanding of your emotional reactions which in turn validates them (understanding why) and allows predictability all of which can definitely impact your mood and well-being. More on coping strategies to come.

Stay safe and be prepared!

shelter in placeOkay, so you have come to the conclusion that it would be a very smart idea to get some supplies together. But where to start? Below is just a jump start to get you going. Your personal circumstances will dictate what you can and cannot do.

Just think this way: if you knew a hurricane or blizzard was coming what would you get from the store? And then make sure you get enough for at LEAST one month if not three months (which is where I would personally be most comfortable starting from nothing). Tess Pennington has a great resource for what to buy if you can do so. But there are a lot of options including 30 day buckets made by various emergency preparedness companies that range from $60 to over $200 per person. Keep in mind these bucket NEED WATER and some way of cooking/heating.

Short term food supply

Long term food supply

Both of the links above will take you to Ready Nutrition

For those on a tight budget facing potential mandatory lockdown (or voluntary if you are smart in live in a high risk area) you can subsist on peanut butter, crackers, tuna, and other canned foods that can be bought cheaply. This is something only you can decide on since YOU know your circumstances. But lay in your food storage now before real fear sets in. Remember your pet too. Do what you can with what you can when purchasing your food items. And buy only what you WILL EAT.

Do you have a way of cooking outside of the microwave or your stove? Do you have enough ‘fuel’ to last and sit out in isolation for a few weeks to possibly months? And the biggest question, is do you know how to use that alternative cooking method. If you answer no to any of these questions then now is the time to either get one you can work (NO CAMPING STOVES INSIDE THE HOUSE!!!) and make sure you know how to use it now and have enough fuel on hand for daily use for at least a month. Personally if I lived in a city or other highly populated area I would go for minimal cooking. Less noticeable.

Do you have water? We use so much water in our daily lives to do so many things…cooking, cleaning, washing. The school of thought is 1 gallon minimum per day per person/animal. Frankly, I like to get 3 gallons going per person just to have extra. I learned this after going through Irene with no power for a week. Water is KING. Yes, right now you have electricity and the water is flowing…but the idea is not to wait for it to stop flowing before being ready for it not be flowing.

First Aid items. What is in YOUR house? The last place you want to be going in case of an outbreak or potential one is the doctors office, ER or Urgent Care especially if you can take care of it at home yourself. Most coughs, sniffles, bumps and bruises and other things can safely be handled at home. If you are sure, get a good home first aid book to walk you through things. But remember, have the little things ON HAND. There is no going out remember? Not unless you absolutely have to do so. Isolation is the only sure fire method of prevention. Again, Tess Pennington has a great ‘get you started list’.

First Layer of First Aid

More First Aid

Medications that you take regularly. Is that prescription filled? Keep it filled and don’t wait until the last moment to do so. I know and understand that many medications are only dispensed one month at a time, but see if that is due to pharmacy regulations/FDA/DEA regulations or if its an insurance thing. If its an insurance thing then you may want to go ahead and pay out of pocket for that extra refill before its due. Don’t hesitate to ask the pharmacy if they have some sort of discount card available as many do. If things start to look ugly, don’t hesitate to contact your private doctor and discuss options with them. It does not hurt to ask!

Sanitation is how you plan on keeping things clean and the garbage taken care of. This is a tough one for those who live in cities. We can all think back to when the garbage workers went on strike in New York. YUCK! So it would be best to minimize garbage, but on the otherhand, if water becomes an issue then you will need to go to using disposable items (or better yet, eat out of the can, yeah, I know gross, but we are talking drop dead situation here, no pun intended). If you have power and sewage still going on then you don’t need to worry about mother nature, but what about Toilet Paper? Got enough for a while? And what if that good ole toilet stops working for some reason? Need to plan for that too and there are many ways of dealing with this issue. Don’t forget cleaning supplies too. I always keep waterless ways of cleaning on hand such as surface spray and those moist floor cloths (found at dollar store). And use paper towels.

Again, I will refer to Tess Pennington’s 52 Weeks to Preparedness:

Sanitation 1
Sanitation 2

This is just a start up to get you thinking about what you would need in an isolation/mandatory quarantine situation so that you do not have to go out. While we have not come to that point where it is happening, the potential is there and I hope you understand the potential threat and take action now. Hey, look at it this way, you get something together now and if you don’t need it great! Then when the next storm comes around you can sit back and relax…you got it covered!

Don’t forget to visit Tess’s website for even more information on how to prepare for any situation. She is an awesome lady with tons of great, reliable information.

God bless and stay safe!

busy citydeserted city
There is no cure for ebola. There is no treatment besides supportive care for ebola. But there is one sure fire way to avoid contracting ebola. Isolation.

With growing concerns over the ‘first’ case of diagnosed ebola in the US many are now very scared. At this point in time, an entire apartment complex is on lockdown (quarantine) voluntarily. Family members and friends (including children who went to school after coming into contact with the sick man) are in isolation. Some hospital workers, ambulance workers and now some people who were in the ER when patient zero first sought medical help, are now voluntarily in quarantine. The schools where the children attended are being treated as a biohazard as is the ambulance that the man who knowingly brought ebola to the US was taken to the hospital in. The CDC is actively looking for people he may have come into contact with right now, and the latest number of people that are of high concern is 100 (as of 10 am on October 2nd, 2014). Currently, there is someone in Hawaii that is in isolation suspected of having ebola.

While at this moment in time cases and potential cases are isolated (that are known), ebola, as we have seen in Africa, this has the potential to turn into a pandemic. Right now, the CDC says it has a contagion rate of 2. That means for everyone person who has ebola, that they will infect 2 other people. Do the math, those 2 people infect 4, 4 turns into 8 and it grows from there.

There is research out of Canada that ebola maybe airborne or very well has the great potential to become airborne. They are saying that only direct contact with someone who is infected (showing symptoms) may cause infection. However, what they are NOT saying is this: Droplets from sneezing and coughing may cause infection. How? Through what I call the ‘sneeze cloud’. We all understand how the flu is transmitted, well, same goes for ebola in this sense, except with ebola, chances are about 50/50 of living through it.

Given that the flu spreads rapidly through populations (most quickly through highly concentrated populations such as schools, work places, malls, buses etc. any place where there is a high number of people) we have the potential for ebola following the same path ways. Door knobs and handles, table surfaces, cell phones and your very own hand. Any place that sneeze/cough droplets land gives rise to the possibility of infection. And just as with the flu, someone coughing or sneezing near you (towards your direction) that sneeze cloud contains the virus. And that can be quite a distance and can linger in the air. Once your hand comes into contact with the virus you can then become infected through a cut, touching your eyes, nose or mouth. And while it has yet to be scientifically proven, it wouldn’t be too hard to see how people could become infected due to the sneeze cloud.

If one thing becomes clear, it is that our very way of life (living closely together, handshakes, riding buses, constant touching of surfaces and then our faces) sets up a potentially dangerous scenario in which the ONLY real prevention becomes ISOLATION from others. There is a reason why those who may have been exposed are being quarantined (voluntarily, though I would place bets that some due to financial concerns will break it) it is because those in charge KNOW that the only way to stop a full blown pandemic from occurring is isolation. That means not going to work, no school, no shopping, no getting together at the local bar or playground. It goes even further. But the fact remains that social isolation is the ONLY sure fire way to avoid contracting Ebola. Period, end of subject.

Think about what this means…there is a reason why the schools where the children who were potentially exposed to Ebola by patient zero were closed (and cleaned up as a biohazard area) and why those children are in quarantine. Because officials know that isolation is the only sure fire preventative.

Are you personally ready to socially isolate you and yours? There is at this time no real reason to panic. And the best cure against panic and fear is to be prepared to stay home for an extended length of time. At the very least, be prepared to stay home (quarantine) for at least one month, if not longer. But start with one month and do it now. Waiting until official word of a epidemic or pandemic is not the time to begin. Now, before it happens, when the potential threat is present is when you prepare. Do it BEFORE officials make you stay home.

Basics of preparation for a potential pandemic is not that much different from preparing for a hurricane, except you are looking at a month, if not longer.

Get your emergency supplies together.
Food, water, medical supplies, sanitation needs, personal security. You want to get as much together as possible so that you do not have to go out. Remember, the only true prevention is limiting contact with others. If you question this measure you only need to look at what is happening in Sierra Leone right now. They started with a 3 DAY lockdown and now have an indefinite ‘quarantine’ in place in areas where Ebola has hit hard in an effort to stop the spread of Ebola. People are having a hard time getting food, water and medicine. The streets are empty, business are closed. These people were not prepared for a lockdown.

The ball was dropped many times in this last week by many people who are our first line of defense against infectious diseases. This means that while ‘systems’ are in place to protect us. WE the public become the last line of defense, for ourselves, our families and our communities. Now is the time to prepare for what could quickly become a dangerous situation.

For more information on Pandemic Preparedness please visit Tess Pennington’s website, Ready Nutrition

Be safe and be prepared.

target ebolaThe ‘impossible’ has happened. Ebola is now in the United States. More specifically, it is Dallas, Texas. Information coming out now is that this man flew to a European country, then to Dulles International Airport in Maryland and then down to Dallas, Texas. Timeline suggests that he was asymptomatic until a few days ago, when he went to the hospital and was told to go home, but came back 2 days later and got a ride in an ambulance that was NOT taken out of service until the official diagnosis came in. Did I forget to mention that he had close contact with children too? They are now staying home but last week they were in school when he first started showing symptoms. What a CLUSTER MESS. And ‘we’ have been ‘preparing’ and training and being oh so vigilant about ebola. Uhhuh.

I am not trying to cause any panic, but am going to be telling some truths here. There is no cure, no vaccine (of which most vaccines are only 40-70% effective) and the FDA is on a witch hunt against people who are talking about alternative ways of dealing with Ebola. WHO is saying that this strain of Ebola is becoming more ‘virulent’. Liberia is not on lockdown, but this man CAME FROM THERE. And apparently, so far, HE had no contact with anyone infected while there. Information and misinformation is flying all over the place. The CDC is not tracking all the people he may have come into contact with, just those who came in ‘close’ contact with him when he was obviously sick. Fact, they are still saying its not airborne, but Canadian scientists have proven that ‘fact’ to be incorrect. The hospital where the man is in ‘isolation’ does NOT have a ‘level 4’ biohazard unit, which means they are improvising. Children that he had direct contact with went to school. The ambulance and its workers, not to mention the doctors and nurses that dealt with him the first time just went into ‘quarantine’ when they finally figured out what was wrong with him. Fact, we already have a virus striking our children that is hospitalizing them at alarming rates and flu season is upon us. The CDC still says that if you aren’t symptomatic then you can’t infect someone else. They have ‘everything under control’ and ‘we have the BEST system to handle something like this’. Oh, and I forgot, apparently some sort of medicine to combat Ebola will be available by the end of the year with a vaccine potentially available early next year. AND our president who is ‘not worried about this’ signed and expanded an executive order to forcibly place individuals with flu like symptoms (but not those with the flu, but wait a minute, Ebola presents like the flu at first) into quarantine camps. Sounds to me like everything is under control…yep, yeah, sure….

My apologies for the sarcasm amongst the facts, we as a country need to be paying attention right now and be able to see through the word salads and assurances that all is well, because its NOT. Doctors and nurses are human beings and miss things, forget things, become tired or distracted. They are not infallible. Things HAPPEN. Like sending that guy HOME with prescriptions for antibiotics. They sent him HOME even though he told them he had recently been to Liberia.

We as Americans have been conditioned to show up at work even when sick, sometimes simply because we can’t afford to take a day or two off without loosing money or potentially our very job. We as Americans have a really bad habit of sending our children to school and daycare knowing full well that they are not feeling well. Again, because we can’t or won’t take off work or can’t find someone to stay with our children. And I forgot, big brother through No Child Left Behind demands doctors notes nowadays instead of just our word that our child is sick. My point here is this: We are setting ourselves up for an outbreak the likes we haven’t seen since the Spanish Flu, TB and Polio. We have forgotten in our arrogance and workaholic culture that our health is the most important thing we have as a country. And we forget that its not just about ‘us’ in the singular, but that we are connected to each other in intimate ways even though we don’t even know our neighbors. If you need any proof of this just look at how we handle the flu every year. We as a nation are NOT ready for an infectious disease. It is so far off our radar of possibility that denial and trusting the officials may very well cause a lot of deaths needlessly.

Again, I am not trying to scare anyone, I am making statements that I HOPE will wake you up and start thinking about things in more realistic terms. You are your best health advocate. And you are the only one who should be making decisions that are not only in your best interest, but also in the best interest of others. You don’t have to live in fear about ebola, but educate yourself, think about it, keep it simple and stay healthy. Pay attention to what is going on instead of trusting those in ‘authority’ that have everything under control. Prepare yourself to stay safe just in case Ebola does make it mainstream. That is the best hope and antidote we have against Ebola.