Monday, December 1, 2014

Intricacies of Ebola Treatment

As Dr. Bucks said to use a few weeks back, treating Ebola can be an incredibly arduous, scary, hot, and difficult task. Dr. Bucks revealed to us that people were sweating out a liter every 40 minutes and felt like they had experienced what water boarding must feel like due to humidity in the masks, but I was curious about some other common problems that might arise in an Ebola treatment suit.

A recent NPR article about some problematic situations while treating Ebola patients was published titled "What should you do if a fly gets into your Anti-Ebola Goggles?" The article is based off of a training manual from the WHO provided to doctors volunteering in West Africa. Apparently, the treatment of Ebola patients is contingent upon the buddy system. Each provider that enters the Ebola treatment unit goes with a partner, and if anything goes wrong, they are responsible for their partner and making sure that they exit the treatment room safely.

Some common situations addressed by the article are: your nose itches, vomit spatters on your apron, or you have to cough or sneeze. These problems had relatively straight forward solutions like refrain from itching, wash it off with .5% chlorine, or sneeze (bless you, take care of that viral infection) through the mask directly without touching your face. The problem as mentioned in the article has a similar solution: if there is a fly or insect in your mask or goggles, notify your buddy and get out together. Although I might be a little more concerned about having a breach in my personal protective gear after noticing that a fly was in my "Anti-Ebola Goggles," I guess the appropriate response would still be to get out with my buddy and deal with the problem afterwards (Irrational fear might lead me to look into the ever so slight possibility of mechanical transmission of ebola infected bodily fluid via flies as well, but that is just me).

So, now you know what to do in a variety of annoying and scary situations when treating your patients future EIS officers! Go forth and conquer that filovirus!

- Marcus Muñoz

Based off of Nsikan Akpan's Article featured on NPR's website:

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