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    Should You Be Afraid of Ebola?

    The world has been shaken by the ebola epidemic facing Africa. More than 4,400 people have died of the disease, and new cases are appearing every day. There has also been some panic in the U.S. Will ebola reach us? Will ebola become airborne? Should we stop all flights coming from Africa to the U.S.? Some customers are even concerned about their own safety in using products that have come from Africa. What can be done to help and what precautions should we take? Are you at risk? Although there has been much speculation and panic, the CDC states that ebola is NOT an airborne disease. "Unlike respiratory illnesses like measles or chickenpox, which can be transmitted by virus particles that remain suspended in the air after an infected person coughs or sneezes, Ebola is transmitted by direct contact with body fluids of a person who has symptoms of Ebola disease. Although coughing and sneezing are not common symptoms of Ebola, if a symptomatic patient with Ebola coughs or sneezes on someone, and saliva or mucus come into contact with that person’s eyes, nose or mouth, these fluids may transmit the disease." Many men of science are speaking up about the widespread panic; Dr. Jeremy Samuel Faust of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, made the cool-headed observation on Slate.com that we are diverting all our medical muscle and attention to a disease that has almost no chance of getting even a modest foothold in this country — on the eve of flu season, which infects tens of thousands every winter and has killed between 3,000 and 50,000 people every year since 1976. Many news articles are suggesting that Americans are reacting to the panic - not the disease. Yet we still want to be careful. 5 Tips to Protecting Yourself From Ebola Virus: 1 - Wash Your Hands. 2 - Avoid contact with blood and bodily fluids of others. 3 - Do not come into contact with any items that may have been handled by someone who died from Ebola. This includes bedding, needles, and medical equipment. 4 - Avoid contact with bats and other primates or blood, fluids and raw meat of these animals. 5 - Avoid hospitals in West Africa where Ebola patients are being treated. For our customers, the question arises, how safe is it to use products that have been imported from Africa? Only a very small portion of our products are imported from the African countries affected by Ebola, and those products were imported long before the outbreak occurred. Alongside this fact, products imported from these countries are thoroughly inspected for cleanliness before they are put on our shelves. A product would have to have bodily fluids or blood on it to be a risk to someone else who uses it. The products we sell are unused and clean. Personal care products have been boiled and were imported long before the outbreak occurred. There are also still many African countries that have been unaffected by Ebola. Mali, The Ivory Coast and Ghana remain unaffected, and that is where a large portion of our items are imported from. Dr. Peter Hotez states: "Patients cannot spread the virus to others until they themselves show symptoms," Hotez said. "At the beginning of their illness they are not very contagious and cannot infect others through casual contact such as shaking hands or touching the skin. Also, unlike the cold or flu, Ebola is not airborne, which means it doesn't linger in the air." There is really no need for concern over items that have been imported from Africa by people who have never shown symptoms of having Ebola virus. 1.What are the chances that the Ebola virus will spread in the United States? Am I at risk? Close to zero, according to medical experts. "The quality of medical care and facilities in the USA and Africa are completely different," said Thomas Geisbert, professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. The areas where the outbreak has spread are "some of the poorest places on the planet," Geisbert said. In Africa, medical professionals sometimes don't have the proper protective gear and over-run facilities are having to turn away patients, he said. What is the most important thing we can do about this ebola outbreak? Send our prayers and support to those in Africa suffering from this disease. Send our support to the institutions fighting the disease. Another thing we can do is not withhold our support to the artisans throughout Africa who are trying to support their families and make a livelihood. Use careful hygiene practices to keep yourself safe from any contagious disease. Don't let yourself be drawn into a panic. While Ebola is certainly a concern and has already claimed the lives of many in Africa, the likelihood of you waking up here with symptoms is extremely low, especially because the virus isn’t airborne. What shouldn’t be overlooked is the fear factor involved with selling more magazines and clicks to get your attention. Huge headlines describing the spread of the deadly disease and constant updates on suspected cases probably does more harm than good. Let us keep Africa in our prayers. We are blessed to be in a country with advanced medical care, while others don't have that same privilege. Lend a helping hand through prayers, financial support to health organizations seeking a cure, and encouragement. Instead of trying to find more ways to isolate yourself from Africa, be a support to those there who need it. Be safe but don't be overcome by unnecessary panic and fear. Remember the famous quote; "Worry is like a rocking chair; it keeps you busy, but gets you nowhere."
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