Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’re likely well aware of the fact that we are living through the worst outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus since it first reared its ugly head in 1976. In fact, there have been more cases and deaths during this outbreak than all previous outbreaks combined. For the first time ever, it has been transmitted across several borders in Africa and cases have been reported among healthcare workers treating Ebola victims in Spain and now the United States. Some news outlets are reporting that there may be as many as 10,000 new cases per week within two months.
Maybe you aren’t just aware of this information, but you’re also losing sleep over it? Then you might be suffering from an ailment known as “Fearbola” – the panic that is gripping the international community. Given the high fatality rate of those that contract the Ebola virus, it isn’t just hypochondriacs who are suffering from Fearbola.
Unfortunately, there is nothing to do at this time but wait for more developments to occur. While that is easier said than done during a healthcare crisis of this magnitude, there are a few steps you can take to keep your cool – because stress is much more likely to negatively affect your health than the Ebola virus at this time.
Before reading any further, it needs to be said that the authors of this article are not medical professionals, just concerned citizens who enjoy research. If at any time you are concerned that you may have Ebola – contact your doctor.
Here are a few basic steps you can take to conquer your Fearbola.
Stay out of Western Africa – Chances are you didn’t have plans to vacation in the area. If you did, reconsider.
Quarantine Yourself – You probably can’t completely remove yourself from participating in society but maybe this would be a good time for you to read a good book or watch an entire television series from start to finish. Did you know that you can rent entire seasons of television shows from most public libraries? It’s true! Check out your local branch today. To keep in the quarantine spirit you can call ahead to find out when they’re slowest. That’s a technique to consider when visiting the grocery store and other unavoidable places as well.
Keep Your News Sources Credible – The best sources for keeping up to date on the progression of the Ebola virus are trusted agencies like the Red Cross, Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization. Most of the major news outlets will be getting their information from these sources as well.
But Keep the News Updates to a Minimum – New developments aren’t appearing hourly. Don’t drive yourself crazy checking the UN website every ten minutes. Hopefully, your Cabin Fever preventing hobby/television marathon could also help distract you.
Have a Plan (Just in Case) – Remember, it’s usually the case that when you have a back-up plan in place, you don’t need it. Start by determining the nearest hospital to you that is equipped to handle Ebola patients. This would include hospitals that have created specific isolation units to provide proper Ebola quarantine. For example, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has designated eight hospitals equipped to such standards.
Keep Things in Perspective – The numbers are still relatively small. The CDC states that during the last major health outbreak – H1N1 in 2009 – there were an estimated 60.8 million cases with 274,304 hospitalizations and 12,469 deaths in the United States. The numbers for Ebola, which true Fearbola sufferers have memorized, aren’t anywhere near that level. This is because it’s extremely unlikely to contract the disease without direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people, the most dangerous of which are feces, blood, and vomit.
“But wait,” you say, “isn’t it true that the lengthier an outbreak, the more likely a virus is to mutate?” Touché, Fearbola sufferer! But there’s good news – the Ebola virus is roughly 0.08 microns in size and should it become airborne, the manufacturers of HEPA have confirmed that it could filter up to 99% of a particle this size. It’s extremely unlikely – repeat, extremely unlikely – that this will happen but if it did – the tools to protect yourself may already be available.
The Ebola outbreak is not something to make light of. It is a devastating illness that has been tearing apart entire communities. If you want to be proactive in the fight against Ebola, you can help by offering support for the afflicted areas via trusted agencies like Doctors Without Borders. Otherwise, try your best to remain calm.