As it stands, we currently find ourselves in what can only be thought of as a holding pattern. To date, individuals here in the United States who are confirmed to have contracted the Ebola virus were healthcare workers, who who got it by treating a patient. As for everyone else who worked in the care of that patient or any of the others, the CDC has stated that if a person doesn't show symptoms within 21 days it means they are clear. So, it will be a few weeks before we can be sure the disease hasn't spread any further, and each new confirmed case that may or may not pop up restarts that clock.
In all honesty, that doesn't sound particularly terrible, but one must factor in other possibilities. For instance, any of the people who were on the plane that the second nurse flew on after becoming infected could pop up as cases, and any of them might have passed it on to other people. So, we truly are in a waiting game. And then, there was also the little situation with one of the individuals seen on television as the 29-year-old nurse was being loaded onto the plane to be transferred from Dallas to Atlanta who was not wearing a hazmat suit. The airline provided an explanation for this, stating that his role was to act as the protocol supervisor. Essentially, because the people in the protective suits have limited visibility, etc., this guy is there to give them verbal cues and things like that. Okay. So, does his clipboard make him immune to the Ebola virus or am I missing something? Is anyone out there keeping an eye on him and with everyone he is shaking hands? Checking his temperature every few hours? Because... if not, then it doesn't seem safe to me, regardless of what they say. If that poor girl happened to cough while being loaded on the plane, then that dude could very well be infected.He probably isn't, but it's that kind of stupidity and recklessness that could turn this into a true pandemic. Hell, the whole reason these two nurses were infected in the first place is because this patient should have been sent to another hospital, and even the World Health Organization is now coming to realize that they dropped the ball.
So, in accordance with all of this nonsense going on and while we hope for the best, let's also talk about how to prepare for the worst in case this thing becomes more widespread. Below you will find the things you need to know.
I don't care what anyone else tells you, the most effective way to protect yourself from contracting any illness is to stay away from other people. If Ebola becomes a more serious pandemic, that is the worst time possible for you to be doing the emergency preparations that you should be doing right now. Rather, that will be the time to avoid public places (especially indoors), public transportation, and anybody who appears to be sick, whether you think they may have Ebola or not. This will be the time to hunker down and spend a good 30 days at home with your family.If the UPS man comes to my door during that sort of a lockdown, he's quite simply crap out of luck. He's welcome to leave the package on the porch, and I'll retrieve it and disinfectant hours later when any viral particles are likely dormant.
Wash your hands with soap and water and be sure you're doing it for at least 20 seconds. Do your best to get in the habit of avoiding touching your own eyes, nose, and mouth, especially if you haven't washed your hands or sanitized them in a while or if you are in a public place where you might have picked something up. Use hand sanitizer, being sure that you have purchased the kind that is at least 60% alcohol. This is especially true whenever handling anything that has gone through exposure to a lot of people, such as doorknobs and handles in public places as well as money. Don't forget just how many hands a $5 bill passes through in its lifetime. Wipe down surfaces with disposable antiviral wipes.
3. Stuff You'll Need:
– Nonperishable food, but be sure to buy things that you know you and your family will actually eat. If you stockpile 30 days worth of food and nothing happens, all you have is a full pantry. Just like all that stuff into your regular meal plans, and you aren't out anything. Buy a bunch of crazy stuff that is just going to sit on your shelf forever, and the next time something happens you will look back the money you spent, seeing it as a waste, and you may be less likely to get prepared for something that really does occur.
– Bottled water. Personally, I prefer to buy in gallon jugs, which are readily available all over the place including Walmart for almost no money at all.
– Batteries. If the power were to go out, you don't want to be stuck between the choice of sitting in the dark or having to go out in the middle of a pandemic and expose yourself to get what you need. Rather, have it readily available.
– Something to put the batteries in. I prefer lanterns with a hand-crank that take a battery backup, but most people can make do with just flashlights. Also, here is another low-cost option.
– Hand sanitizer with at least a 60% alcohol content
– Disposable antiviral wipes
– Medical-grade rubber gloves, but keep in mind that any set of rubber gloves is better than not having any at all.
– An antiviral disinfecting cleaner, either of the commercial variety or you can simply mix nine parts water to one part bleach.
– Disposable Thermometers
– Heavy-duty trash bags. Be sure to mark anything hazardous as such to protect others.
– If there's any chance you'll be taking in mail or packages that need to be disinfected, be sure to have protective gear. Personally, I'm not going all out and purchasing a full hazmat suit, but N95 HEPA masks, protective goggles, heavy-duty trash bags, and some sheet plastic could definitely come in handy.
I'm sure after publishing this I'll come up with 100 other things I would've liked to have added (and I may very well come back here and add them to this article as needed), but that should give you a very good start toward being prepared for Ebola as well as any other viral pandemic that could be a future threat to us.