What kind of disaster readiness blogger would I be if I didn’t at least do one post on ebola, right? Okay, here goes.
First, despite how CNN and other media outlets have become “All ebola, all the time,” keep this whole thing in perspective. Yes, a whole ton of people have died from this disease in recent weeks. A grand total of ONE of them was in the United States. That’s one case out of a total population of around 300 million. When it comes to contracting ebola, you currently have better odds of getting hit by lightning while getting a hole in one on a golf course as you buy a winning lottery ticket.
I know what some of you are thinking: Every pandemic has to start somewhere! Well, yeah, you’re right. But, thus far at least, we’re just not seeing any sort of dramatic increase in the numbers of infected people. I know, I know, there’s a potential of 21 days for the incubation period. There’s a lot of people who might have become infected but they’re just not showing symptoms yet. Tell you what, come back in a couple of weeks and we’ll see how many confirmed cases we have at that point.
I’m not saying this isn’t a potentially serious situation. What I am saying, though, is to dial back the paranoia and fear just a tad.
Next, as might be expected, there are a whole lot of half-truths, outright lies, rumors, and conspiracy theories out there with regards to ebola. Any time you see “new” information posted on Facebook or elsewhere, I’d advise you to strongly consider the source. Many of you have probably seen the movie Contagion. Remember the blogger in that movie, the one who was paid (presumably handsomely) for spreading false information? Out here in the real world, there are a ton of idiots like that who will do it just for a slight uptick in traffic to their blog.
Hell, I saw one story earlier today where the blogger was advising people to inject bleach into their arms as that will kill any pathogens, such as ebola. Yeah, um, don’t do that.
If you are truly concerned about possibly contracting ebola, there are some common sense things you can do to limit your possible exposure.
A) Stay away from anyone who is diagnosed with ebola (duh).
B) Avoid public places as best you can. When shopping, use antiviral wipes on the shopping cart handle.
C) Use N95 masks when you feel it prudent to do so. Examples would be when you absolutely must venture into public places, such as when shopping for supplies.
D) Use antiviral wipes on hard surfaces that may harbor disease, such as doorknobs and countertops.
E) Stock up on supplies, just in case you do end up needing to shelter in place for an extended period of time. Review our list here of the top things you should have on hand. Even if I’m right and all of this turns out to be much ado about nothing, those supplies can be used for any sort of disaster. They aren’t pandemic-centric.
Something else to keep in mind. Ebola isn’t our first “pandemic craze.” In the last few years, we had SARS, avian flu, and MERS, just to name a few. Personally, I see absolutely nothing to indicate ebola is going to be “the one” that wipes out billions.