Ebola. Even the name is a bit creepy. The disease itself, is horrifying. First you get flu like symptoms, then vomiting and diarrhea, then your organs start shutting down and you bleed from all your orifices before dying.
The death rate from this virulent disease is anywhere from 55-90%. Those are not good odds. Basically, there are no proven cures for this yet. Some experimental stuff, but who knows how far those will come. I’m sure there’s not much profit in it for the pharmaceutical companies in a rare disease that hits poverty stricken areas in Africa. But maybe that’s just my cynical side.
Most survivalists probably have more than a few worries where this disease outbreak is concerned. What can be done to prepare for a possible exposure? What can be done to limit one’s chances of dying horribly from it? Let’s discuss some ways you could prepare.
6 Ways To Prepare for Ebola
1. Get Necessities: The incubation period for this virus is 21 days. In the unlikely event that you find yourself in the middle of an outbreak, you need to be prepared to stay home for 3 weeks, at the very least. Food, water and medicine, you must have a months worth if you are to avoid contact with others for that length of time. You need to know the symptoms so that you can accurately gauge who among your house and kin might have the illness. The World Health Organization has a good factsheet here with details. And of course, you have to love WebMD. The same place you go to check your 3 year old’s chicken pox symptoms also has a section on the Ebola virus. Of course, treating someone in your house through a case of Ebola puts everyone in the house at risk of getting it. Do you have enough quarantine materials? Enough gloves and masks? Enough courage to face this one knowing you might get it if you’re the one taking care of the patient? Could be a tough decision in real life.
Some Ebola stricken areas cancelled schools and closed markets, quarantining the affected neighborhoods with troops in some cases. Which leads to the next point.
2. Avoid Quarantine: Our own American government has much leeway when it comes to “civil disorder.” I would not put it past them to set up quarantine zones and temporarily detain anyone with so much as a cough. That’s not to say that this disease spreads in that manner, usually you have to come into close contact with blood or other secretions from a symptomatic Ebola patient in order to catch the virus. I doubt that will stop the troops from detaining you though and keeping you penned up with other likely sick people. So don’t give them the opportunity to add you to their collection.
3. Stay home: I love a good getaway as much as the next gal, but if you keep company with too many world travelers, you put yourself at risk of being the stepping point for the disease as it hops across continents. And perhaps this should go without saying, but Don’t Go To Africa. While the outbreak rages, don’t go there. The disease originates from fruit bats and monkeys native to that continent. The chances of an outbreak in Idaho or Iowa or Maine, are nill. (Barring the aforementioned world traveling incubators.)
4. Which Hospitals Welcome Ebola? Not all hospitals are equipped with the proper isolation and protective gear to handle Ebola patients. The large hospital closest to me has outright said they wouldn’t accept an Ebola patient. Their plan, such as it is, is to send any that might arrive to the bigger hospital down in Omaha.
5. Get Ready to Play Doctor: If you suspect your local hospital would not take an Ebola patient, and you want to cover all your bases, you should be prepared to provide supportive treatment for anyone who comes down with it. Re-hydration to combat the vomiting and diarrhea. Probably preferably intravenously if you have that ability, just because of the vomiting. And I can’t stress this enough, proper protective gear for anyone that might come in contact with the patient you’re treating at home.
6. Avoid the Big City: I would love to take in a show on Broadway, maybe after the find a cure for Ebola. Big cities have international airports with direct flights to and from Africa. The virus is coming from Africa. Need I say more?
Also Read: Are You Prepared for Quarantine?
Bottom Line: Hand sanitizer and tissue face mask won’t cut it in this case. You’d probably want a full body hazmat suit, with a hard plastic face mask. The truth is, you will probably die this winter from some weird strain of the swine flu, so Ebola is really the least of your concerns in the United States.
Should you be prepping for Ebola? I’d argue no, especially if you’re an American reader who doesn’t travel to Africa. It can be used as a good thought experiment though, for deciding what to prep for any sort of highly contagious disease outbreak. So if that’s your aim, go ahead and use Ebola as a test case. Just don’t lose any sleep over the possibility of an American Ebola outbreak. I don’t see it happening but if Ebola becomes airborne….stop the clock.
Stay safe out there! Stay healthy. Your best defense is a healthy happy body, so work towards that goal.
– Jennie Erwin