The news is filled with reports of the Ebola virus.
Fear is definitely in the air!
With its appearance in the US and yet another confirmed case of the Ebola virus here in Texas, the big question on everyone’s mind is “how to protect yourself from Ebola?”
The Ebola virus as certainly been the topic of quite a few of our family’s conversations the last couple of days! Even our younger children are concerned and as parents, we are trying to answer their questions honestly without raising alarm – that can be challenging! It is especially challenging with the conflicting and changing information that is coming our way!
Before I go any further, I want to say that propagating fear is not my intention but I want to encourage you to think for yourself, be aware and be prepared. Sometimes simple awareness and being prepared makes a big difference in the outcome.
Ultimately, I believe that all things are in the Lord’s hands, good and bad, and He is able to use all circumstances for His purposes. Our responsibility is to act wisely, not react with fear and panic.
So much is still unknown about the Ebola virus and information is changing quickly – you can see from the infographic pictured below – it states “there is no vaccination or known cure” but, while there is still no vaccination, there is a serum that has been developed, as well as, a blood transfusion from an Ebola survivor that have proved effective treatment.
What is Ebola?
- Ebola is a virus that first appeared in 1976 with 2 outbreaks – Nzara, Sudan, and the other in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The current outbreak which began in March 2014 in west Africa is the largest outbreak yet with more cases, deaths and has spread between countries.
- There are 4 Ebola viruses known to effect humans and the current outbreak is the Zaire Ebolo virus.
- It is thought that the virus was spread to humans from infected animals – monkeys, fruit bats, chimpanzees, gorillas….
- It is spread between people through contact. Speculation abounds that it is transmitted simply through contact with bodily fluids from an infected individual but is not an airborne illness. Since viruses change or mutate, I expect we will see this information change!
Symptoms of Ebola
The symptoms of the Ebola virus are very similar to those of the flu.
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- Abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Unexplained bleeding or bruising
How to Protect Against Ebola
1. Avoid Contact
Avoiding contact with infected individuals is the most important way to protect yourself against Ebola. Stay away from cities and areas in which infected cases are known to be.
Unfortunately, with our mobile society in which air travel is so prevalent, avoidance may prove easier said than done! Even though you do not visit these areas, others of your acquaintances may come into contact with you.
So, do you just stay home? Well, that certainly would be the safest if an epidemic does break out or if it is in your area! Again, be aware of the accounts of infections and if one occurs in your area, just like you would with a flu epidemic, stay out of crowds.
2. Good Handwashing
While this is easy to overlook, cleanliness is important – with colds, flue or Ebola. Germs can be easily transported from our hands to our mouths, nasal passages and the delicate tissue of the eyes.
Be aware of what you touch and wash your hands!
3. Build Your Immune System
Unlike other viruses, such as, the swine flu and west Nile virus, Ebola has not targeted individuals with compromised immune systems or the elderly – it seems to be non-discriminant. That being said, our body’s immune system is the first line of defense to any intruding organism whether it is the flu, a cold or Ebola.
I am not saying that if you build your immune system, you will not contract Ebola, but a strong immune system contributes to the overall health of your body and does help protect from illness.
So, what can you do to build your immune system?
- Have a Diet Rich in Probiotics – Health begins from the inside out – your gut health is of utmost importance. Having mainly “good” or beneficial bacteria inhabiting your gut means your body can more effectively deal with intruding viruses and bacteria – it is not weakened by fighting the effects that “bad” or harmful bacteria within your own system can cause – autoimmune problems, inflammation, allergies… Your body’s immune system is stronger to fight an intruding virus or bacteria. Probiotic foods include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, fermented carrots, raw apple cider vinegar and kombucha.
- Real Food Diet – Give your body what it needs to maintain, build and repair with nutrient dense foods. Non-processed foods are the most nutrient dense focusing on superfoods that are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – dark leafy green vegetables, avocados, grass-fed meats, omega-3 rich fish, nuts, citrus fruits, whole grains, good fats like coconut oil and olive oil…
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil – Fermented Cod Liver Oil is a traditional superfood that is rich in the fat soluble vitamins – vitamins A, D, and K. The fermented cod liver oil is easily digestible and the nutrients are readily available to your body. It helps boost your immune system! We use this Butter Oil/Fermented Cod Liver Oil – our favorite flavor is the Chocolate Creme and we take 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp daily. There are also several choices of Fermented Cod Liver Oil here.
- Avoid excessive intake of foods that suppress the immune system including refined sugar, alcohol and highly processed foods. Anything in excess can be harmful!
- Get Adequate Rest – Your body needs rest and specifically sleep to rebuild and repair. The average person needs 7 – 8 hours of sleep per night. A six-year study involving 1.1 million people conducted by the University of California San Diego found that people who slept 6.5 to 7.4 hours a night had a lower death rate than those with shorter or longer average sleep times.
- Reduce Stress – Prolonged stress puts a strain on your adrenal gland and this decreases your immune system’s ability to function and do its job, protect you! Take steps to decrease the stress in your life.
- Exercise – Exercise is important for overall health – it gets your blood pumping, helps balance hormones and stimulates the body’s immune system.
I am sure there are many other immune building practices that I have left out like herbs and homeopathic remedies. But, as I have read and sought to answer my own questions, these are good practices for you and your family whether it is allergy season, flu season, or a possibility of an Ebola epidemic.
At this point, there are so many unanswered questions about the Ebola virus and lack of information coupled with the fear of an epidemic, that awareness and common sense on the part of each individual is important to protect against Ebola.
I would love to hear what (if anything) you are doing to protect yourself against Ebola – I’m sure others are interested too – Leave a comment and let us know!
Photo credit: depositphoto.com/realinemedia; depositphoto.com/favetelinguis199