Ebola_virus_virionEbola is a major topic in the news and clearly it is on our minds a good bit.   In fact, we may soon hear about a case of two in the Phoenix area…that would not be a surprise.

The risks of being exposed to this type of virus is very very low in most parts of the country, and given that the Ebola virus is not very easily transmissible there is much less true concern than may seem to be the case based on all the news coverage.

What can you personally do to keep from getting Ebola?  It’s simple:

1.  Don’t travel to West Africa.   This may seem trite, but it’s about ‘perspective’.   There are tens of millions of people who live in the immediate area and are not getting infected, so clearly it has limited transmissibility, and if you are not travelling to that highly exposed area, your risk are diminished by an enormous amount.

2.  Wash your hands with soap and water.   What a novel idea!  This is the best method for preventing transmission of all types of virus.  Of course it’s not perfect, but it’s helpful…and is something you should be doing more regularly.  Studies repeatedly demonstrate the benefits of this simple technique, yet we ignore it regularly.  If you cannot use soap and water, then hand-sanitizer can be used as an alternative.

3.  Reduce kissing ‘hello’ and handshakes.   Use fist bumps and a respectful ‘bow’ instead.  Of course, this is not a ‘must’….I’m just saying…if you are worried, this is a habit you can change.

4.  If you are overly worried and feel you need to do more to assuage your concerns, you can consider taking a statin medication as a preventive.  It does not prevent infection, but very well may prevent ‘death’ from Ebola and is a simple and safe way to protect yourself if you find that your worries overtake your rational perspective on the topic. (Read my previous blogpost on that topic >>>>>HERE<<<<<)

The seriousness of EBOLA is clear, but fortunately this is a difficult-to-transmit infection and is unlikely to come to our area in a way that would expose a significant number of people to illness, so let’s all try to keep our composure and perspective.  One day in the future, we may really be confronted with a virus that is virulent AND transmissible, and then we will all need to make an effort to be smart and safe.