I am not working as medical staff. Still I had contact with people who suffered from Ebola, with people who have been in quarantine and also with survivors. Before going to Sierra Leone I had an online course of 90 minutes length, including discussion, nothing more. Of course I clicked through the internet and I have tried to search information about all my questions I had at that time. Questions that – while not being in Sierra Leone yet – seemed very important to me:
- How long could the virus survive outside of a human body?
- Can infections be transported via animals?
- Can I still go on the streets while I have a small cut in my finger?
During the first three weeks in Sierra Leone I have checked my body temperature twice a day. Just to make sure everything is fine. I did this additionally to the approximately 5 checks per day that happen while entering and leaving my office, meetings, hotels. I have extensively cleaned my hands with a brush and used disinfection at least 10 times per day. I would not touch my face without washing hands first.
By now I stopped doing all of this. I live a normal life. I still disinfect my hands after washing them and obviously I cannot avoid the temperature checks on the streets. Also, I still try to avoid body contact with other humans. Other than that I do not take any particular caution. It doesn’t seem necessary since Ebola will only be transmitted via body fluids. Therefore, in normal life there is almost no chance for infection. In mass media this is presented differently. But I will write about media reports in a few days.
I think the biggest danger for people like me who don’t work in the health sector is to get a different disease or have an accident. Two things that would force me to go to a local hospital. The hospitals are very crowded and one cannot be sure not to have other Ebola victims in there. The hospitals also do not have good equipment which yields another danger. That is why people suggested to take medicine that prevents Malaria. Malaria and Ebola have similar symptoms in the beginning. So a „maybe“ Ebola case in a crowded hospital can due to the low hygiene quickly become a real Ebola case.
This article was translated from Julia’s German Article: Wie schuetze ich mich vor einer Infektion?