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