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Ebola and Protecting Yourself From Bodily Fluid Exposure

Posted on August 06 2014

As the largest Ebola outbreak in history continues to worsen, many Americans are wondering if there could be an outbreak here in the United States and are starting to ask questions about what, if anything, they can do to help protect themselves and their loved ones from contracting the deadly virus.   While the Ebola virus has had a past history of being up to 90% fatal, experts are reporting that the current outbreak has a 55% fatality rating. There are no cures for the Ebola virus, and the best way to protect yourself is to be informed and be diligent about practicing good handwashing techniques, using disinfectants to sanitize the surfaces you touch, and taking proactive measures like wearing gloves and a face mask when around those who are sick.   The good news is that the Ebola virus is not an airborne disease, which means that it can not be contracted by breathing the same air as those who have the virus. Ebola is only spread through coming into direct contact with the bodily fluids (such as the blood, sweat, saliva, vomit, urine, feces, and semen) of those who are infected and showing the signs and symptoms of the virus. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Ebola website questions and answers fact sheet explains that “individuals who are not symptomatic are not contagious. In order for the virus to be transmitted, an individual would have to have direct contact with an individual who is experiencing symptoms.”   Tips For Protecting Yourself From Bodily Fluid Exposure -- Avoid contacting the bodily fluids of others -- Make sure you wear gloves, an isolation gown, and a face mask when around those who are sick -- Use a personal protection kit or a body fluid cleanup kit to minimize your exposure while cleaning up bodily fluids -- Properly dispose of contaminates using clearly labeled red biohazard bags -- Don’t share dining utensils, toothbrushes, bathing towels, or any other personal items that may collect and spread bodily fluids -- Try to avoid shaking hands with others (the fist bump is a much cleaner greeting) -- Use disinfectants to clean the surfaces you touch throughout the day -- Be extra diligent about frequently washing your hands with soap and warm water -- Carry instant hand sanitizer with you for cleaning the hands when there isn’t access to clean running water   Just as with protecting yourself from any other types of viruses that are spread through direct contact with infected bodily fluids (such as with MRSA, HIV, etc.), taking steps to reduce your risks of exposure is the most effective means of protecting yourself.   Please note that the healthcare workers who come into direct contact with known contaminants and treat those who are infected follow a strict set of guidelines and regulations to protect themselves and the public while preventing the disease from continuing to spread.   Sometimes it’s best to be prepared ahead of time. Great for those who are worried about possible exposure and feel the need to prepare now for the (hopefully) unlikely event that the Ebola outbreak does spread to the US, Mountainside Medical Equipment is putting together Ebola Personal Protection Kits. These kits will include a variety of supplies that will help minimize an individual’s exposure to potentially infectious bodily fluids, thus helping protect them from being exposed to blood-borne contaminants like Ebola, MRSA, and HIV.   Sources: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/guinea/qa.html http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/prevention/index.html http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/

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