The Anxiety Age – Part 1

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With all of our access to information these days you would think people would be more informed, open minded and less fearful. Instead it seems our lives are driven by fear and anxiety even though the world is as safe as it has ever been. Take for instance the main trigger point for people’s anxiety this week, Ebola.

Ebola is a virus that has killed almost 3000 people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Ebola has been around in Africa since 1976 and at times has spread in Africa due to inadequate health care precautions, poor sanitation and the consumption of animals like fruit bats or animals that prey on them that can carry the virus. The virus can only be spread from the exchange of bodily fluids like blood, urine, vomit, feces, siliva, mucus, sweat and semen all generally things most sane people avoid anyway.

Wait a minute did you say Ebola has been around since 1976? Yes, in fact an Ebola outbreak in 1995 in Liberia and Sierra Leone killed 729 people and had everyone thinking it would kill us all back then. Here is an article discussing the 1995 Newsweek cover story discussing Ebola and our fear of viruses.

So what are the chances you may contract Ebola in the United States? Very small in most civilized nations unless, you are a healthcare professional, are travelling to Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone or are in contact with someone that has been there. Does that mean we should just forget about it and move on? No, we should replace our anxiety and fear with awareness and action. Here are some tips to avoid contracting and spreading the disease:

-Avoid direct contact with bodily fluids from anyone that is exhibiting flu like symptoms. The only known case of a non-healthcare worker with the disease in the U.S. occurred when a Liberian man carried a young girl with Ebola who was bleeding to a clinic hours before she died. Then days later he boarded a plane and flew to the U.S. Currently, 50 people who may have had contact with him are quarantined and none have been diagnosed with Ebola.

-Ebola is unstable outside the body and can only live for up to 24 hours. Outside the body, it can be easily killed with most anti-bacterial agents or disinfectants. So, wash your hands regularly, carry disinfectant wipes and/or Purell and avoid handshaking if you have an open cut on your hands. (Most things we should already be doing during cold and flu season).

-If you’re a health care worker be careful about handling bodily fluids especially patients with a fever.

-If you are experiencing a fever, vomiting, intense weakness, muscle soreness, sore throat and/or diarrhea I would be a little more likely to see my Doctor or go to the ER. If you can receive treatment before you experience organ failure you increase your chances of recovery and can even build up immunities to the disease. Fortunately, two American Aid workers who contracted the disease in West Africa were flown back to the U.S., treated, released from the hospital and made a full recovery.

I developed the idea for this article when I was doing research trying to calm my wife’s fears about the disease. As I researched I became more aware, developed a plan of action I was less fearful of Ebola. Now I can spend more time protecting myself from cancer, heart disease and car accidents that are thousands of time more likely to kill me than Ebola. That is of course until we have something else to worry about like another El Nino, the Swine Flu or Flesh Eating Bacteria.

So, I guess you are wondering why a bankruptcy attorney is giving advice about an infectious disease? Not to be too dramatic, but bankruptcy like Ebola is something most people fear without being informed. So, next week I will do my best to provide you with information to help you become open minded and less fearful of bankruptcy. Understanding debt, collection methods and bankruptcy in general, can help you avoid mistakes that can be fatal to your financial future. If you can’t wait until next week give me a call 412-395-6001 or email me at [email protected].

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