OK, so Ebola’s coming – don’t be scared, be prepared

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Relax, you’re safe as long as you’re clean

Think of it as a great, big, wake-up call.

There’s this dread disease coming and we’re all going to die.

Poppycock.

First of all, it’s got to get here – and we’re protected by an alert and watchful health emergency service.

That poor lady on the flight from Sierra Leone? Sadly she died, but not from Ebola – the plane was quarantined and everybody on it was checked and registered.

Second, we’re a lot more fortunate than Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone.

No super-challenged medical  teams over-stretched against impossible odds. No under-funded hospitals or emergency clinics. No ambulance shortage or emergency workers scared for their lives.

Most important of all, we lead healthier lives. We eat healthier, so our bodies are stronger. We’re more aware of hygiene and preventing infection in the first place.

It’s still not enough though.

We know about washing hands, but how many of us do it properly? A proper scrub, not just a rinse.

And how about the towel we use – a disposable paper one, or the same old cloth hanging on the bathroom door?

Or how about antibacterial hand gel?

Oh sure, we all know about it and use it whenever we remember.

But did you know it takes a minimum of 30 seconds to work? Or that you’re right back where you started once you touch your face, your hair, or the nearest door handle?

Yes, we’re careful. But we’ve got to be carefuller.

Because it’s not just Ebola, it’s a whole slew of other viruses and bacteria queuing up to have a go at us. Germs that have become resistant to antibiotics. Killers just as deadly.

Of course they can’t touch you if your hygiene is good.

So ask yourself, is it?

And are you really watchful?

Do you wipe dust away with your fingers? Do you tap your teeth with your pen? Do you put your keys in your mouth when you bring the shopping through the front door? Have you looked at the face of your phone after you’ve made a call?

No germ can get you if it can’t make contact – through a wound, through your skin itself, breathed in or swallowed. That’s why the Ebola teams wear full body protection. So the disease can’t touch them.

We’ve got to think the same – keep our bodies protected so germs can’t get us. Like all the things you try to do when you’re away on holiday. Be careful, remember you’re in a strange place, your body does not have built-up local resistance.

Don’t go swimming in dirty water. Don’t eat food that you sense is off or not cooked properly. Careful what you drink, if necessary take the cap off yourself – insisting that it has a cap in the first place.

Keep yourself clean. Avoid contact with the body fluids of others – don’t let yourself be sneezed on, no drinking from the same glass, super caution when you change junior’s nappy. In other words, don’t be careless.

Because it’s not Ebola that’s going to get you. It’s norovirus or e.coli. Really unpleasant – and an unnecessary price to pay for sloppy hygiene.

Just be watchful – and you’ll be fine.