The Ebola virus has been all over the news in the last few weeks. It was once a rare disease, but this year it's had the largest number of fatalities in history, affecting multiple countries in West Africa.
On September 30th, 2014 the first case was reported in the United States. This case had been transported by a traveler who flew from West Africa to Dallas, Texas.
Ebola is spread like many other viruses, through direct contact with blood or other fluid secretions from the body like mucus, sweat or saliva. It is transferred through mucous membranes or broken skin. It can also be passed through contaminated clothes or bedding.
A person may experience symptoms similar to other viruses like fever, headache, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, muscle pain or unexplained bleeding or bruising.
These symptoms generally appear eight to 10 days after exposure but could occur anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure. Humans are not considered to be infected until they show signs of the disease.
The stories are so scary because there is no one single treatment that has been proven effective against Ebola. There have been some basic interventions that, when given early, improve the chances of recovery.
Patients are given intravenous fluid that include electrolytes. They are monitored for maintain blood pressure and appropriate oxygen status. They are treated for any other infections.
One of the most important factors related to recovery is the patient’s immune system. A patient with a strong immune system has a stronger chance of recovering if the infection is caught early.
Once a patient has the Ebola virus their body will develop antibodies, and their immune system will circulate them for approximately 10 years.
Boosting the immune system is always a good idea. If you want to do something to protect yourself, there are a few things that do consider.
When you get enough rest, eat a healthy whole food diet, and exercise regularly, you are supporting your immune system. This will reduce your risk of having a compromised immune system.
A strong immune system won’t prevent you from getting Ebola.