How To Survive Ebola, Part 2

15 Oct

In Part 1 of How To Survive Ebola, we looked two of the most important things you need to do to survive a viral plague. The most important was ISOLATION. You need to isolate your family from contact with others. I offered some guidelines about WHEN to isolate your family. That’s an important real world consideration.

A major outbreak of Ebola or any infectious disease won’t happen overnight. There won’t be a sudden event to warn you it’s time to isolate your family.

The transition time when you must isolate your family is particularly dangerous. Isolate too late and you risk bringing Ebola into your home. Isolate too early and you risk losing your job and burning through your valuable stocked resources before they’re really needed. This will be a theme of this post: The danger of transition periods and how to deal with them.

Even if you cannot achieve full isolation, the less contact your family has with others during a virus outbreak lessens your exposure. If you must, go to work, go shopping, run the necessary errands of life, but cut back on social activities where you’re exposed to large numbers of people needlessly.

Once your family is in a state of isolation during a MAJOR spreading of plague, IF you must venture out, I recommended wearing protective clothing. This is known as PPE or personal protective equipment. In layman’s terms, a plastic suit thingy. It’s important to match your PPE to the risk you face. This post from PKSafety.com explains Ebola PPE in more detail.

ThoughfullyPrepping has a good post about realistic Ebola PPE for preppers.

This next resource isn’t required. It’s a guide (pdf file) for PPE for emergency responders. As with many government documents, it could be condensed to 1/10 the size!

In the book, I write about what I call a CULTURE OF SURVIVAL. It encompasses many things. You must have the right equipment. You must have the skills and training to most effectively use the equipment. You must have the correct mental attitude and knowledge of the situation you’re in. Only when these things come together do you have the best chances of survival.

The use of PPE against an infectious disease is a perfect example of this. If you follow poor procedure when donning or removing your PPE, you risk exposure to Ebola.

This graphic shows “suiting up” in PPE.

Removing your protective gear is even more critical. This is the chance for any Ebola on your suit, respirator, gloves or other equipment to get on you. Ebola currently cannot spread through the air (unless somebody sneezes a big goober in your face). Ebola can’t be transmitted through the skin. Ebola will strike through open wounds, the eyes, the nose and mouth, and sexual activity. Remember the post about attack vectors? These are some of Ebola’s attack vectors.

In our previous post, Equipped Cat reminded us we need to protect our animals from becoming infected. That led me to learn a bit more about Ebola. In Africa, other attack vectors are infected bush meat and bat bites. Equipped Cat is right. Isolation applies to your animals. How likely are we to be infected by mice or mosquitoes? I don’t know, but it’s a valid concern.

DECONTAMINATION is important. I suggest purchasing simple plant sprayers, filling them with a mixture of water and bleach, one cup of bleach to a bucket of water is fine, and spraying down your protective suit before removing it when you return from your expedition.

This bleach spray will kill Ebola on your suit and minimize the risk of becoming infected when you take the suit off. It will allow you to reuse your protective suit, which for most preppers will be a limited resource.

As individual family preppers, we don’t have the financial resources to dispose of our PPE after every use. We must balance what are called “best practices” with practical reality.

Aid organizations follow this same procedure on a larger scale with rooms where you walk in and are sprayed automatically, usually with some chlorine based solution, before you walk out.

Two nurses treating Ebola patients have died despite wearing protective equipment. It’s believed in one case the nurse inadvertently touched her nose while removing her gear. A bleach shower could have prevented this kind of infection.

Rubbing our nose or putting our hands up to our face is a natural thing we do without even thinking about it. Overcoming our natural tendencies is one of the most difficult things to learn when becoming indoctrinated in a particular culture of survival.

Don’t run from snarling dogs, don’t claw at a scuba mask underwater if you feel claustrophobic, and don’t put your hands up by your face when working with PPE and Ebola! Don’t become complacent just because you did something once before. Treat your hands like loaded weapons when removing PPE. Be slow and methodical.

Do you really need bleach? For me personally, yes. It’s one more layer of defense. Ideally, if you follow perfect procedure, you should be able to remove a hazmat suit contaminated with Ebola and you should be fine. This should even apply if somebody threw a bucket of infected vomit, diarrhea, and blood on your suit.

This layering is why two pairs of protective gloves are sometimes used. The outer layer of gloves is certainly contaminated. You don’t want to remove it with your bare hands. You remove it with one more protective layer. Each layer has less exposure. After removing PPE, it’s recommended you wash your hands.

If gloves are to be disposed of, you should roll them up inside out for disposal as removed touching as little of the outer part of the glove as possible. If gloves are to be reused, place them outside exposed in sunlight. Put them over a couple of sticks stuck in the ground. The UV light of the sun kills Ebola. Between bleach and UV light, take that Ebola!

This post has hit nearly 1,000 words and I’ve only touched on a fraction of what I planned to write, so in Part 3, we’ll continue with a discussion of incubation and quarantine. We’ll look at the rate at which Ebola is currently spreading in Africa and what plague would look like in America.

Charlie Palmer, author The Prepper Next Door

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5 Responses to “How To Survive Ebola, Part 2”

  1. equippedcat October 15, 2014 at 10:45 pm #

    As I understand it, the bleach mixture loses potency over time. It might be a good idea to only make enough for a few days at a time.

    UV lamps?

  2. thoughtfullyprepping October 16, 2014 at 5:01 am #

    “This should even apply if somebody threw a bucket of infected vomit, diarrhea, and blood on your suit.”

    A word of caution if I may.
    On the Internet market place the “in thing” to buy is Tyvek overalls.

    THis from the Dupont Corporate website:-
    Tyvek® is the brand for a protective material and protective clothing manufactured from it. Tyvek® is a versatile non-woven material manufactured only by DuPont. The unique combination of properties of Tyvek® makes it very suitable for a number of end use applications, for example Protective Apparel amongst others. Tyvek® is made of millions of ultra-fine, continuous fibres of high-density polyethylene that are flash spun and heat-bonded into a fabric. It is permeable to air and water vapour, repels water-based liquids and aerosols, blocks particles and fibres down to 1µm,

    Note the particles bit. 1µm, That’s 1000 nm.
    The Ebola virus pencils in at 970 nm long and a diameter of 80 nm.
    One thin stick of a nasty isn’t it?

    Washing the stuff.
    This from Tyvek’s technical handbook.
    Washing and laundering
    In general, washing and laundering impacts on the performance of the materials. Therefore laundering is not recommended for Tyvek® and Tychem® products.

    Nomex® is another material made by Dupont, same woven type material.
    Washing instructions for this stuff SPECIFICALLY says no bleach.
    Nomex® garments can be cleaned by home or industrial laundry or dry cleaning. The following suggestions will help keep your garments looking their best and optimise their wear life.

    Read and carefully follow manufacturer’s laundering instructions.
    Close/cover all Velcro™ and zippers.
    Empty all pockets.
    Launder garments separately from other garments.
    Do not overload laundry equipment.
    Use detergents for coloured textiles, preferably liquid without bleaching agents.
    Tumble dry garments at low temperature settings or hang dry away from any lightsource.
    Store Nomex® garments away from any lightsource.

    • thoughtfullyprepping October 16, 2014 at 6:09 am #

      Whoops, a typo.
      “Nomex® is another material made by Dupont, same woven type material.”. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!

      Tyvek is made of millions of ultra-fine, continuous fibres of high-density polyethylene that are flash spun and heat-bonded into a permeable material. It’s not like standard cloth, it’s not woven in the same way BUT can still “breath”.

      I just had to correct that stupid mistake.

    • preppernextdoor October 16, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

      “Note the particles bit. 1µm, That’s 1000 nm.
      The Ebola virus pencils in at 970 nm long and a diameter of 80 nm.
      One thin stick of a nasty isn’t it?”

      Tyvek is OK and recommended by the professionals because as I understand it, this type of a virus can’t leave the liquid material it’s contained in. The liquid binds it and retains it, so a malicious little fellow would have a heck of a time breaking through and away from its liquid bath. I picture an eyelash trying to climb out of a cup of water! I guess if it did manage to break away from the liquid environment it would die?

      As long as the suit was still capable of repelling the liquid, you’d be fine. That’s my understanding of it. I’ll certainly research some more.

      Bleach and UV are known to weaken many materials and certainly could shorten the life of the material. Given the benefits of killing off any Ebola on the outer layer, I’d still go with bleach on Tyvek. I will research and see if I can find out more about how much a suit’s life could be shortened. It could just be a discoloring issue. The professionals often use Tyvek once, rinse with chlorine or whatever and toss the suit.

      Thanks for the great information. Good directions to learn more about!!

      • thoughtfullyprepping October 16, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

        Except for this:-
        Ebola is airborne, according to a new report by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota. Researchers at the university just advised the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that “scientific and epidemiologic evidence” now exists that proves Ebola has the potential to be transmitted via exhaled breath and “infectious aerosol particles.”

        We used to call that droplet infection, they call it airborne. Duh!

        However once it goes TRULY airborne, my personal space limits will expand exponentially to round about what I can hit with my rifle.

        I’ve learned though the years to never say something can’t do this or that, it’s more a case of it hasn’t yet evolved enough and the one thing viruses are good at is evolving.

        So Charlie, you stick to permeable material, and I’ll stick to my “boil in the bag” PVC.

        Either way we’re screwed!

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