Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How Not To Freak Out About Ebola

It is a stone cold fact that I am an anxious person.  If there is something out there to worry about, I'm losing sleep over it.  Anxieties keep a running commentary in the back of my head, every single "what if?"  ever created circling in a constant loop, kept only at bay by my sheer determination not to become dominated by my fears.  I know anxiety very well.

So when I say that this current Ebola hysteria is pure crazy?  Believe it. 

I've lived through all this insanity before, when the school district I worked for abruptly closed down for a week due to the minute possibility that someone in a hundred-mile radius might have had Swine flu. While I appreciated the tiny vacation, I came to despise the phrase "out of an abundance of caution".  And it is getting crazier, all in the name of that Caution.  There's even a discussion among some people that homeschooling is the way to go, so your children don't catch Ebola, which makes me want to create an Extra Special Crazy category for them.(Homeschool if that's your thing, just don't do it for a stupid reason like imaginary contagion.)   Even my husband has become a bit alarmed, because he read Stephen King's The Stand, and the idea of such a situation actually happening seems plausible enough to worry him.

Even with all that, I'm not going to freak out.  There's not really anything to get hysterical about here.  The situation, which may have involved some stupidity on the part of certain hospital officials, has been addressed.  I'm more concerned about the fact that there are only four hospitals in the US equipped to deal with these sorts of infectious diseases than I am about the disease itself.  

Here's what you do instead of freaking out:

1. Get the facts.  Not wiki-facts, or random Internet facts from someone who knows a guy who knew a cousin who slept with a girl who was friends with a guy who died from Ebola.  No, for the serious diseases, a person in need of information goes to the CDC(cdc.gov) or google the World Health Organization.  These people know their infectious diseases like some people can name every first baseman who ever played in a World Series. They have been studying Ebola for years, before anyone else even heard of it. What do they say? Ebola can only be spread certain ways, and those ways involve bodily fluids.  Ebola is not an airborne pathogen.  Nobody is going to breathe in someone's air and catch Ebola. Ebola doesn't survive for long on surfaces. So stop with the drama about closing the borders, or boycotting businesses where someone may have coughed/sneezed while they shopped. Take a deep breath, safe in the knowledge that you're not going to contract Ebola. 

2. Turn off the Television, stop reading articles.  Under the guise of helpfulness, the media has a tendency to sensationalize these sort of situations, in the name of getting you to tune in or click on their page.  Remember that these organizations are all about profit, even if their job is providing information.  It's in their best interest to keep you hysterical and glued to their channel. It's not in your best interest. So turn off the television, shut down the internet, and do something else. 

3. Wash your hands.  That's what you do to keep from getting the flu, colds, and just about every other virus out there.  I don't use hand sanitizer, which contains chemicals known to cause muscle weakness.  I use plain soap and water, and it is just as effective. After all these years, washing your hands makes the difference, and it doesn't cost a ton of cash. If it makes you feel better, you can also wear one of those masks they hand out for the flu.

4. Get out and live your life.  Instead of hiding in your house waiting for the Ebola zombies to show up, go outside.  Hit the stores.  Eat out.  Hang out with your friends. Go to a pool hall and gamble away your pension.  Do all those things that make you happy, and stop thinking about Ebola.  Unless it really makes you happy to think about Ebola.  But if thinking about Ebola makes you happy, you should probably be working for the CDC.   

5. Worry about something else completely.  There are more significant things to be concerned about in our part of the world than Ebola. Focus on those things, like the chronic temper tantrums of Congress, or the fact that the vaccine stockpile is expiring with nothing to replace it.  Those will keep you occupied until this scare is over. 


  1. Enterovirus must be so sad that Ebola came along and stole its spotlight. It had just started gathering a decent amount of steam too.

    1. Enterovirus makes me nervous. I'm reading up on that one every day!


I welcome comments, but reserve the right to correct your spelling because I am OCD about it!