Facing an armed intruder is most certainly a frightening prospect, but worrying about a microscopic invader triggers something more of a primordial fear within us. That’s a perfectly normal response and as long as the anxiety is channeled and not allowed to explode into a full-blown panic, it’s a good thing. Influenza outbreaks happen on a yearly basis and occasionally reach pandemic levels, but there are ways to prepare and react. The following advice is actually good advice for other viral infections, include Ebola.
Inoculate In Advance
Each year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in conjunction with other world health organizations, analyze which strains of flu variants are most likely to cause problems and create vaccines to curb their spread. One recommendation is that senior citizens and people with compromised immune systems should be inoculated yearly.
As for Ebola, there have amazing advances in developing vaccines and inoculations to prevent and treat this devastating illness. Check with your local health department for options in your area.
Combating the Spread of the Virus
The flu, like many viral infections, is spread through our respiratory systems and the fluids they produce — that’s where the attack against its spread should be focused. One of the most important factors is keeping our hands clean. Commercial hand sanitizers are helpful, but nothing beats good old soap and water when used properly.
If the outbreak reaches pandemic levels, it’s time to add to your defenses. When possible, limit face-to-face interactions. If feasible, working from home can help stem the tide as it reduces the chance of contact with the bug on phones, keyboards and even file folders. And even though they may clash with today’s fashions, masks and gloves like those seen in medical offices may become necessary.
At home, designating a “sick room” is a good way to prevent the illness from being transmitted between family members. While it may be inconvenient, a little disruption is better than having the whole household sick. The caretaker should use masks and gloves and consider a disposable hooded jacket and booties when cleaning rooms and changing linens.
Influenza is a common viral infection that comes around annually in varying degrees. When it does, don’t let visions of Hollywood or video game pandemics invade and create hysteria. Even with a rare outbreak like Ebola, remember to stay calm and carry on with reasonable cautionary actions.
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