PREVENTIVE STEPS TO PROTECTING HOUSEHOLD FROM EBOLA VIRUS

 

Written by: Theophilus Izobofolo


Ebola virus belongs to the family of viruses called Filoviridae. There are five species of the virus, some being more lethal than others. Its incubation period varies from 2 to 21 days with an observed average of 8 to 10 days and its principal mode of transmission are through human to animal, person to person by direct contact body fluid/ secretion of infected person and sexual intercourse.

Ebola virus first appeared in 1976 in Sudan, Nzara and in Tambuku, Democratic republic of Congo (DRC). This virus EVD was located in a village near the Ebola River and this brought about the name Ebola. EVD is a severe disease where patients suffer from fever, sore throat, muscle pain and headache followed by nausea, vomiting and many more. Since its appearance in 1976, EVD has persisted in African with over 20 outbreaks being recorded. These outbreaks where in 70s, 90s and 2000-2012 which affected remote villages near tropical rainforests in several countries including the DRC, Congo, Uganda, Gabon and Cote d Ivoire. In total, the outbreaks from 1976-2012 affected 2,387 people and caused 1,490 deaths while from 2013-2015 at least 26,194 suspected cases and 10,857 confirmed deaths.

Currently, Ebola outbreak started in Guinea and first case occurred in December 2013 which was a result of Zaire species of Ebola virus and this virus has migrated to other various countries such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria etc.The 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa. There were a small number of cases reported in Nigeria and Mali and a single case reported in Senegal; however, these cases were contained, with no further spread in these countries.As from 14th August,2014 up to date, 1, 975 suspected persons are affected while 1, 069 persons are suspected dead from the virus.

How is Ebola spread?

Ebola virus is not an airborne virus. The Ebola virus was initially spread to humans through contact with animals such as monkeys, chimpanzees and bats. In some cases, the Ebola virus can be spread from person to person by body fluids(human-to-human transmissions through direct contact).  Direct contact means that blood secretions, organs or other body fluids containing the virus must come into contact with broken skin or the mucous membranes of a healthy individual in order for the virus to be transmitted.  The fluids may come directly from the infected patient or from surfaces touched by the sick individual, such as bedding or clothing. The virus is mostly transmitted through blood, feaces, breast milk, urine, and semen. It is also believed that it may be even transmitted through tears and saliva. Ebola is not spread through the air. This means that a person cannot contract the virus from breathing the same air as an infected individual. However, if an infected person directly sneezes on an individual and the mucus from that sneeze comes into contact with an open cut or the eyes, nose or mouth of someone else, there is a chance of infection.

Symptoms noted in Ebola patients include:

(a) a fever greater than 38.6 degrees Celsius; (b) muscle pain; (c) severe headache; (d) weakness; (e) diarrhea; (f) vomiting; (g) abdominal pain; (h) blood in stool; (i) rashes; (j) bleeding from nose, eye and/or mouth; (k) chills; (l) sore throat; (m) lack of appetite; (n) weight loss; (o) chest pain; (p) red eyes and ; (q)internal bleeding

Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days.

Recovery from Ebola depends on good supportive clinical care and the patient’s immune response. People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years.

Because the symptoms of Ebola are so much like those of other diseases, medical professionals use series of test to diagnose EVD (Ebola Virus Disease). The common tests include the following:

Virus isolation by cell culture
Antibody-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
Serum neutralization test
Antigen-capture detection tests
Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay
Liver function test
Blood coagulation test
Treatment for Ebola Virus

There is no cure for Ebola, nor are there any vaccines that can prevent the disease. Those who recover from the disease do so through the strength of their own immune system. Doctors have found that one of the most important treatments for patients afflicted with the virus is simply helping them breathe, to give their immune system a better chance to fight off the disease. The use of supportive care, along with intravenous fluids or oral dehydration with solutions containing electrolytes is important. Maintaining blood pressure and replacing lost blood also are part of the supportive care. Doctors are trying several experimental treatments on patients. Some doctors are giving patients blood transfusions from those who have survived Ebola. The hope is that the survivor’s antibodies will help the receipt’s antibodies which will help the recipient’s immune system fight off the virus. Z-mapp and Brincidofovir are two experimental treatments for Ebola.

Patients who recover from Ebola can develop antibodies that will protect them from the virus for at least 10 years, or possibly even longer. There is one exception, though. A recovered patient can still spread the virus with semen for up to three months after they recover. Doctors advise anyone who is recovering from Ebola to use condoms or to refrain from intercourse for three months.

Prevention of the Ebola Virus

Current policy for prevention of Ebola disease focuses on avoiding contact with the virus. The precautions that can help prevent Ebola infection are listed below:

Avoid traveling to areas of known Ebola outbreaks.
Maintain basic hygiene.
Drink clean water from a clean source.
Cook meat thoroughly and properly. Never eat undercooked meat.
Avoid having bush meat as food.
Avoid contact with wild animals.
Avoid contact with Ebola infected people.
Health workers should wear protective clothing like gloves, masks, gowns and eye shields.
Always keep infected people away from others.
Dispose of the used needles properly and sterilize other instruments.
Do not try to prepare for last rites of the people who died due to Ebola. Let the specially organized and trained teams to handle burials and other procedure regarding death rituals.
If you notice any symptoms that resemble those of Ebola, seek medical care.
While Ebola is extremely infectious, it is not extremely contagious. Laboratory experiments show that even a single virus can lead to a fatal infection.

10 IRRESISTIBLE WAYS TO MANAGE AND PREVENT STRESS (FOR STUDENTS)

10 IRRESISTIBLE WAYS TO MANAGE AND PREVENT STRESS (FOR STUDENTS)

Written by: Theophilus Izobofolo

23rd May 2017

Being a student was a stressful time for me; I know it is the same with many students today. Some stress is positive and negative, the positive stress motivates you to reach your targets and focus on your goal by studying more and working harder. The accelerating events, expectations or experiences stimulate positive stress that helps you work tirelessly. The positive stress is called ‘U-stress’, it is stimulated during exciting moments;a moderate level of adrenaline is secreted when happy and it enables the body to meet the goals set up by the mind in positive mood.

The negative stress is the opposite of U-stress, when it reaches an unhealthy level, it prevents you from functioning well and meeting your goals…this is called Distress. Your health, school performance and social life can all suffer when stress becomes too much to handle. That’s because stress can affect your mood and ability to think clearly. It can also weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to getting sick.

CHRONIC STRESS:

Stress are named according to the experience and need of man, but the Chronic Stress is adverse and detrimental to the health, cause high blood pressure, autoimmune illnesses, Anxiety, digestive issues and depression. It is actually very important to manage stress, prevent negative stress levels and listen to your self to know when you are feeling negatively overwhelmed. Here are some guidelines for managing and preventing stress as a student;

GUIDELINES FOR MANAGING AND PREVENTING STRESS

NASA Study: Stress Management and Resilience Training for Optimal Performance (SMART-OP)Researchers in the UCLA Anxiety and Depression Research Center (ADRC) have incorporated the use of technology in managing and treating stress and anxiety problems. The CALM Study utilized a computer-based CBT treatment for anxiety in primary care. Another completed study, funded by National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) through a cooperative agreement with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), developed and evaluated a self-guided multimedia computer program to train users in stress management and resilience skills. But the following are some major tips to control your stress level;

  1. Watch out for signs of stress overload: Symptoms of too much stress can be physical, emotional, mental and behavioral. While everyone is different, some common signs are: memory problems, trouble concentrating, racing thoughts, irritability, anger, sadness, headaches, frequent colds and changes in sleep or appetite.
  2. Know what triggers your stress: Stress and its triggers are different for everyone. Certain people, places or situations might produce high levels of stress for you. Think about what causes you stress, and brainstorm solutions. If public speaking or presentations make you stressed, start researching early and practice several times. If there are friends or social situations that cause extreme stress, you may want to avoid them when you are already feeling tense or overwhelmed.
  3. Don’t be over ambitions: Pulling yourself in different directions will only stress you out, so try not to over-commit yourself or do extracurricular activities when you’re super busy with school.
  4. Take time to relax: While it’s impossible to eliminate all negative stress from your life, you can control the way you react to stress. Your body’s natural fight-or-flight response can take its toll. When you’re faced with a stressful situation that your mind perceives as a threat, it sends various chemicals, like adrenaline and cortisol, throughout your body. As a result, heart rate and breathing speeds up and your digestion slows down. This tires out the body. Relaxation techniques are a huge help in calming you down, boosting mood and fighting illness. Try a variety of techniques — like yoga, breathing exercises, meditation and visualization — to see what works for you, and schedule a relaxation break every day.
  5. Exercise Regularly: All forms of exercise reduce stress hormones, flood the body with feel-good endorphin, improve mood, boost energy and provide a healthy distraction from your dilemmas. Plus, exercise may make you less susceptible to stress in the long run. Find physical activities that you enjoy and try to devote about 30 minutes to them each day.
  6. Manage your time well: Time can seem like a luxury in college, but there are various ways to manage it effectively. First, focus on one task at a time. Multitasking rarely works. Jot down everything you need to do in a calendar or a task management app/program, prioritize your list and break projects into single steps or actions.
  7. Reduce or stop caffeine: Caffeine might help you study in the short term, but it interrupts sleep and makes you more anxious, tense and jittery. This obviously ups your stress level. Try and drink no more than one caffeinated beverage a day.
  8. Avoid self-medication: Some students drink, take drugs, smoke and use other unhealthy behaviors to cope with stress. However, these behaviors can exacerbate stress by negatively affecting your mood and health.
  9. Control your temperament: Most students suffer from bad temperament, as a result seek solace in isolation. Life is relational not a transaction, when you are too emotional you stand the chance of being stressed during anger.
  10. Associate and socialize: If you’re stressed out, talk to your friends and family. If you feel like you can’t handle the stress on your own, schedule an appointment with a counselor on campus.