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Ebola: Awareness, not panic, is key

Everyone has probably heard about the Ebola outbreak in Africa and that it is causing some to be concerned about a similar outbreak here in the United States.

I recently read a Tumblr post that lamented that Ebola didn’t trend on Tumblr until someone was diagnosed with it in the United States.

As I am writing, media outlets are reporting the first case of a person contracting Ebola outside of Africa. According to the Miami Herald, on Oct. 6, a child in Florida showed symptoms of Ebola, but tested negative.

So, at the very least, people have become more aware of it as time has passed.

My advice to everyone is to take precautions, but do not panic.

I believe the most important factor to remember is that Ebola is transmitted through bodily fluids and not the air.

Furthermore, according to the Centers for Disease Control, a person who has Ebola can only spread the disease if he or she has symptoms.

So, even though it is important to remember that according to the CDC, symptoms may not occur for up to 21 days, you can have a large measure of control over whether you are at risk.

Be aware of your surroundings and the people with whom you come in contact.

If you know anyone who is traveling or has traveled to an affected area, make sure to take extra precaution. Maybe even advise that person to get checked.

If you are traveling to or from an affected area, be honest with officials and on official documents.

One of the issues with handling the first known U.S. case was that, according to an Oct. 3 USA Today article, the traveler involved lied about assisting a pregnant woman with Ebola.

If you are helping someone in need, you should not have any reason to lie.

If you are a health worker, follow all protocols for sanitation and cleanliness. And, make sure people you have contact with know the risks.

Finally, the CDC and state officials have a lot of advice, guidelines and information. If you are unsure of what to do, look them up. Web addresses follow.

The Florida Department of Health information is at: http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/ebola/index.html

The CDC web information is at: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/

Be aware, but do not panic!

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