Ebola: What You Should Know as a Healthcare Worker

20 Oct

Ebola virus

Image via NIAID

 

Some critics fear the nation is overreacting to the Ebola crisis. As a result of the pandemonium many U.S. healthcare workers are in constant fear of catching Ebola. All of the hype that the media has been relaying has caused our nation to go into panic mode. Is it more about a deadly disease, or a viral story? This is what you need to know right now.

Facts on Cases of Ebola in the United States

As of October 17, 2014, there have been 3 diagnosed cases of Ebola in the United States and five cases where patients were flown in for treatment. One person has died and the others have either recovered or are being treated. Let’s look at this again. There are over 319 million people who live in the United States and there have been only eight people who have had the virus in the country at any point in time. That’s 0.0000025078% of the population.

Transmission of the Ebola virus

You may say that it’s a contagious disease and can spread quickly. This is true. However, with new screening protocols set in place at airports and health care workers getting the proper training, the risk is low right now. Furthermore, as a virus that can only be spread through direct contact with blood and bodily fluids, it is less contagious than colds and flus. This means that you will not contract the disease by air, water, or food.

Risk of the Ebola virus

While risk is low for those in the United States, there is still risk associated with the recent outbreak and citizens should keep informed of the epidemic status and how to protect themselves should the disease spread further. Healthcare workers may be most susceptible to preventable infection because of their close contact with patients during treatment.

What should I do to protect myself?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are a few safety precautions that you can follow:

How to protect yourself against Ebola
If you are a health care worker, you might be interested in taking an OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Certificate Course to review the safety precautions and OSHA standards associated with diseases. The American Safety Council makes this course available to anyone who needs training on health hazards on the job and how to stay protected. Some of the topics will cover an exposure control plan, Hepatitis B vaccination and exposure incidents, and methods of control. Sign up today and stay up-to-date with the latest health and safety standards.

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