Ebola Fighters Voted Time's 2014 Person of the Year
It can sometimes take a while for the severity of an epidemic to hit close to home. Although Ebola has been around for decades, it wasn't until 2014 that it began causing mass fear in the U.S. When American health care workers started to become infected with the life-threatening illness, it turned into a worldwide battle and exposed the weakness of the public health system that's been in place for years.
"Ebola fighters put their own health on the line to improve others'."
Earning the Title
Health care workers around the world risked their lives traveling to the epicenter of the outbreak to treat sick patients. They put their own health on the line to improve others', and some even faced criticism when they returned for potentially bringing it back home. Take, for example, the uproar that came about when American nurse Kaci Hickox returned home from treating patients with Ebola and notoriously defied her quarantine.
"It is crazy we are spending so much time having this debate about how to safely monitor people coming back from Ebola-endemic countries, when the one thing we can do to protect the population is to stop the outbreak in West Africa," Hickox told Time magazine.
Despite the widespread fear, many other health care workers participated in containing and stopping the epidemic. For this bravery and service, Ebola fighters across the globe were awarded withTime's Person of the Year 2014, joining a long list of presidents, religious leaders and other notable members of society.
"Americans' chances of becoming infected with Ebola are very low."
Keeping Sicknesses Contained
Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids. Frequent, rigorous hand washing and avoiding people who have been infected is crucial to preventing sickness. Those with the virus are contagious during the time they show symptoms. However, it's been noted that Americans' chances of becoming infected with the illness are very low. More of a concern is influenza, which affects a much larger portion of Americans each year.
To lower your family's chances of getting the flu, there are several precautions you can take. For starters, encourage proper hygiene like frequent hand washing and bathing to remove any strands of the virus from coming in contact with the eyes or mouth. Periodically wiping down surfaces and keeping a clean home is also effective in combating germs. Try running an air purifier, like the Holmes® Smart Air Purifier with WeMo®, to trap harmful airborne particles, as well as a humidifier to keep your home from being too dry. Flu germs survive best in dry air, so it's ideal to have some moisture in your home to keep everyone as healthy and comfortable as possible.