Know about Ebola and overcome the fear with knowledge and understanding
Hardly a moment goes by without a news item about Ebola. Most of it is in far flung parts of the world – In Africa but some cases have now come back to Europe (the UK and Spain) and America. Currently there is no evidence of person to person spread in the UK but this could change given the warnings by the World Health Organisation. You may now be wondering what can you do for your loved ones and what is Haughton Thornley Medical Centres doing to support patients and the public?
Firstly, let’s be clear. There is no need to panic. Ebola is not something new – it has been around for decades and there is a great deal of expertise and knowledge available on how to deal with this infection and what precautions we need to take. Public Health England and Tameside & Glossop CCG are in constant contact with the practices locally to inform us about the latest information and what advice we need to follow. Having a highly developed National Health Service with constant surveillance and access to some of the top experts in the world means we are as best prepared as can be to meet any challenges and to keep abreast with developments as they change. Haughton Thornley Medical Centres learned from the Swine Flu experience a few years ago and gained vital insights into how to manage patients flows and keep people informed and help to prevent a crisis. We will apply that same knowledge to help us all get through this too.
We simply ask you to follow some simple instructions on what to do:
- Know who is at risk of getting Ebola
Currently people at risk are those who have been in areas where the outbreak is happening in Africa – Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone. The WHO has widened the number of countries considered to be at risk. This is likely to grow so keep up-to-date with the latest information by clicking on the link. (Conversely if you have not travelled to these countries then you are not considered at risk. These symptoms are similar to the flu / viral infections that we all can get. If you ring the surgery for advice then our staff will check you have not returned from a high risk country).
- What are the symptoms of Ebola
Typical symptoms include fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, sore throat and intense muscle pain. These symptoms start between 2 and 21 days after getting infected but usually 5-7 days after. If you start with these symptoms and have returned from a high risk country within 21 days then you may be at risk. You should phone 111 or 999 to get advice on what to do in this case.
- How does Ebola spread
Ebola spreads by contact with blood, body fluids or organs of an infected person. Most people are infected by caring for somebody with Ebola either by touching the victim’s body or by cleaning up body fluids (stools, urine or vomit). Simply washing hands with soap and water can destroy the virus. Clinicians are trained to use simple hygiene techniques which safeguard us from spreading the virus. Currently there is no need for our staff to use protective gowns, face masks etc. We will however remain diligent in case the advice changes.
- The risk of getting Ebola in this country remains low
It is not easily transmitted. It is only infectious when symptoms start. Effective infection control procedures are in place. Training and awareness has been in place.
Expert Interview: Is Ebola a risk to the UK Q & A from Public Health England. Clearing up the confusion
How does Ebola virus compare with other viruses in relation to infectiousness and deadliness?. Click here to see the graph below in more detail.