After today’s news that Thomas “Eric” Duncan, 42, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, died early Wednesday in Dallas, many people probably are wondering about what they can do to protect themselves.
The Kane County Health Department says the 2014 Ebola epidemic is the largest in history and is distributing information so that citizens are informed and understand more about what to do.
If you have traveled to an area with an Ebola outbreak or had close contact with a person sick with Ebola, you may be at risk if you:
- Had direct contact with blood or body fluids or items that came into contact with blood or body fluids from a person with Ebola.
- Touched bats or nonhuman primates (like apes or monkeys) or blood, fluids, or raw meat prepared from these animals.
- Went into hospitals where Ebola patients were being treated and had close contact with the patients.
- Touched the body of a person who died of Ebola.
You should check for signs and symptoms of Ebola for 21 days, and do the following:
- Take your temperature every morning and evening.
- Watch for other Ebola symptoms, like severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising.
- Call your doctor even if you do not have symptoms. The doctor can evaluate your exposure level and any symptoms and consult with public health authorities to determine if actions are needed.
- During the time that you are watching for signs and symptoms, you can continue your normal activities, including going to work.
If you get sick after you come back from an area with an Ebola outbreak:
- Get medical care right away if you have a fever (higher than 101.5°F), severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.
- Tell your doctor about your recent travel to West Africa or contact with a person who was sick with Ebola and your symptoms BEFORE you go to the doctor’s office or emergency room. Calling before you go to your doctor’s office or emergency room will help the doctor or emergency room care for you and protect other people who may be in the office or emergency room.
SOURCE: Kane County Health Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention