What Ebola prevention means for immunocompromised transplant patients

Ebola can be scary, especially for an immunocompromised transplant patient! (Especially in Cleveland/Akron where an Ebola patient traveled immediately before being diagnosed!) The media is going crazy with every lead they can find, and people are blowing things out of proportion on social media.

Instead of being consumed with fear, I decided to get some answers.

On my quest of separating facts from undue overreaction, I’ve generally avoided the media and stayed in-tune to the CDC and live airings of our local health departments, doctors at our top Cleveland hospitals, and government officials.

I’m speaking to you both as a fellow transplant patient and as a person experienced in nursing and holding a Public Health Education degree.

First of all, Ebola is not contagious unless someone is showing active symptoms. Second, Ebola is not airborne which means you won’t get it from sharing a bus or plane with someone who is showing symptoms. The only way to catch the virus is to handle bodily fluid of an Ebola victim and somehow get it into your body. This could be due to a paper cut on your finger that it seeps into or from transferring the substance to your face/mouth. And lastly, remember that anyone in contact with the virus may not show symptoms for 21 days. I’ll talk about that later.

As transplant patients, hand washing and avoiding sick people is drilled into our brains.

Believe it or not, that’s really all that applies with Ebola, as well.

Avoid anyone who was in contact either with an Ebola patient or anyone in quarantine. Wash your hands after going anywhere, before entering your home, after using the restroom, etc. Just use common sense.

I talked with my transplant surgeon who is renowned in several states around me, members of many boards, and has received training around the world. I have trusted him with my life for several years, and he is the best of the best. His exact words:

Just follow all the protective measures as you have been doing. No need to wear masks or surgical gloves when you go to the shopping mall or church or similar places. No need to cancel your travel plans if you have any. Just follow the general precautionary measures and don’t make life hell for yourself. No need to be in masks and gloves like what was seen frequently yesterday in airports and in planes.”

Knowledge is power, so go over to CDC’s website, and read up. Ask your doctors any questions you may have. They are all receiving constant training on any changes in the disease and are there to help you. You can also call 1-800-CDC-INFO, however if you are a transplant patient, I would start by calling your coordinator/surgeon.

Let’s believe in God to keep His children safe and rest in the knowledge we have of this virus.

Great links:
CDC Press Releases

CDC’s detailed pages on Ebola

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