Ebola and you

U-News Staff

It’s natural to be concerned when we hear about an epidemic, especially now that a case has appeared in Dallas, Texas. Here’s what UMKC students need to know:

Ebola is a virus spread by direct contact with a symptomatic person. You can’t get it from being in a room with someone because it is not airborne.

Hand sanitizers don’t work against Ebola, but good old soap and water does. Wash your hands–a lot. Or carry a spray bottle with very dilute bleach if you are a worrier.

Know your friends’ travel histories, especially after school breaks. High risk areas are in West Africa. Know the names of the countries (Liberia, Serra Leone, Guinea). International hubs in Brussels and Amsterdam receive flights from Liberia. Know where your friends have been. If they have been to West Africa in the past three weeks and have a high fever, call 911 and tell them what you know. The Health Department will help clean and decontaminate. Do not touch anything.

Viruses do not care for race or religion. Anyone can catch this. It is not just an African disease.

Symptoms are a high fever and body aches, followed by vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding. Buy some disposable thermometers to keep on hand. If you get a fever and haven’t touched any sick people anyone from West Africa, it’s not Ebola. Stay home.

Be smart. Don’t share drinks, toothbrushes, etc. Know whom you kiss and with whom you sleep.

There is no simple test for Ebola, and you must have risk factors and be febrile for the CDC to test you. There is no way to be “checked” for Ebola.

This epidemic in Africa is associated with extreme poverty, lack of education, burial practices and poor public health. Here in America, those factors are mitigated, but it is still important to be cautious.

The real threat to your health is the flu. Get your flu shot now.

Get real information: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/