In Layers of Gears, Offering Healing Hand to Ebola Patients in Liberia

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Ebola protective gear

This blog was researched from several  online Journals, including The New York Times’s article; “In Layers of Gear, Offering Healing Hand to Ebola Patients in Liberia,” originally written by Sheri Fink. In here I chronicled some of the terrible agonies the Ebola Virus is capable of causing. This version however, is an excerpt from a paper I wrote during the summer, in which I shed light upon the great sacrifices of aid workers and international volunteers who rushed over to Africa to help save those dying from the Ebola disease. The original version from which this article draws heavily upon, is itself among a chain of several works I did that involved lab experiments, including real-time handling with different types of microbes. In some cases, I had to use several Petri dishes taken from campus to culture microbes and then incubate them under different types of temperatures. I had to use my refrigerator to culture  certain samples swabbed from inside my mouth and my nose.  Many other microbes were simply captured just by leaving the Petri dishes opened for as little as 10 minutes, and with in several hours, the microbe had already formed colonies that became visible to the naked eye.

I did my best however, to describe in here some of the deadly symptoms of Ebola, after the virus takes hold of its victims.  As a matter of fact, I only followed the New York Times’ author’s original description by listing the types of precautions that volunteers and Medical Aid Workers, including ordinary local citizens living in Liberia, put in place to make sure that the deadly disease didn’t spread any further. In conclusion, I briefly reinforced the main objective which was to educate more people about the disease. While doing this, I managed to delve into the morbid interactions between the disease and those it infects in those final days of death and recovery.

The Virus

ebola

Image Credit:/ Getty’s

The Ebola Virus overtakes its host by disarming the immune responses, leading to whole range of symptoms such as diarrhea, muscle pain, sore throat, fever and eventually dehydration.  But according to the article, majority of the survivors were among those receiving supportive care, including oral or intravenous re-hydration, which helped delay the disease long enough for the body to fight off the infection. In one particular case, according to the article, which involved a sick man who lived outside the city.  The man began sweating profusely before collapsing, and according to one eyewitness, health workers imagined “every inch of his body was covered with billions of Ebola particles, a remark, I supposed, helped kept emergency medical workers on high alert.

Typically when a person is affected by the Ebola virus, it takes up to a couple of weeks before symptoms start showing themselves.  Treating the disease at this early stage is imperative but difficult. In Emergency: Mass Casualty: Ebola, Anna Easter explains why: “Early diagnosis is difficult because the presenting symptoms include those evident in differential diagnoses such as influenza and sepsis. Differential diagnosis is time consuming and extremely costly”.

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Health workers had to rely on bleach solutions and chlorinated water throughout the outbreak in Liberia, to combat the spread of the disease, and it worked.   The methods used for precautions are straight, plain and simple. For those at the full-front; zip-up in a special suit made of rubber that contains layers upon layers of protective material from feet to head, equipped with goggle, gloves and face-mask. Even after this measure of care, one had to still be sprayed with the bleach solution before actually entering the contaminated zone. On your return trip from the contaminated zone, you go through an equally thorough decontamination face before leaving the facility.

Using bleach solution for disinfection, played a very important role combating the Ebola outbreak in Africa, and this aspect of the article enriched my own understanding about the effect of bleach as a powerful disinfectant chemical cleaning agent even in our homes. For instance, when I used the household bleach with active yeast during one of my labs, I noticed that the result was almost immediate. The process of life seemed to had ceased entirely. The budding process of yeast-cells that at first was going on rapidly seemed to had been interrupted when the bleach was introduced. What was going on here inside the experimental container became quite obvious to me; the bleach was inhabiting and destroying the yeast-cells. This powerful illustration, for instance, shows how extremely potent a chemical cleansing agent bleach is.

The importance of the Ebola story cannot be over-exaggerated since it involves several people with different backgrounds who have had first-hand experience of the deadly disease while living and breathing among those infected with it. It shows us, for example, the level of bravery and sacrificed of the men and women who were there in the heavily impacted zones of the Ebola outbreak to help those awaiting death.  Their stern determination in the face of danger to risk their own lives must have revealed again the indomitable nature of the human spirit. The willingness of volunteers to intervene and wrestle with death to help other men, indicates that man– for the most part– is good-by nature. It clarifies the point that the soul in man is infinitely compassionate, and that nothing can ever stand  before the soul in its onward path to altruism—Indeed I am convinced that all men are helpers, they are Visible Helpers.

Perhaps more than anything else, their story set a plain guideline about how to protect oneself and those we love from most disease outbreaks like the Ebola virus. Following the simple but effective methods that those health-workers put in place to ensure their own safety, is something that’s worth remembering in any viral disease outbreak.

In a split-second, the article shows readers that in the final days of the outbreak, those that survived, for the first time, began to see a glimmer of hope again, and for those who died, for them, their agony was greatly lessened with the help of hundreds of empathetic health workers—further proof that man’s only hope is in man.

 

 

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