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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I want to talk seriously about Ebola, but the panic over the 24-hour news networks’ scare tactics are making it really difficult for me to keep a straight face. First of all, unless you plan on cutting your arm and then rubbing the open cut against the bare, sweaty skin of strangers on the street, then your chances of getting Ebola are pretty slim.

Let’s try some facts to help overshadow the panic. Maybe that will help.

1) Ebola is not airborne.

No, just because Ebola can be transmitted by having someone spit on you does not mean it is airborne. An airborne disease hangs in the air and does not need something to carry it from one person to the next. You need to have contact with the Ebola virus to get it. That means that you either need to have someone with Ebola sweat, spit, bleed or … ummm … pee on you, or you ain’t getting it. So Ebola is most definitely not airborne.

2) President Obama is not using Ebola to destroy the United States.

If I hadn’t read this one more than once on the old Internets, I would not have believed it. No, President Obama is not purposely introducing Ebola into the United States to kill us all. Just ... no.

3) Ebola was not created by ISIS.

Let’s look at a couple of facets of this little nugget to gain a better understanding of it. Ebola is a virus that is created in nature and then transmitted from one living creature to another. While there is a chance Ebola could be created in a lab, this particular strain was not created by ISIS. How do I know that? Because even ISIS is not stupid enough to develop Ebola to destroy the United States and then start that destruction in the African country of Liberia. Come on, now. Use your heads. If ISIS wanted to kill us with Ebola, it would release it in New York City or something. Not in Liberia.

4) Ebola will kill thousands of Americans.

No, it won’t You know what kills thousands of Americans every year? The flu. But because you are not afraid of the flu, the 24-hour news networks know they can’t use it to get ratings. The only time the flu becomes a pandemic is when it has a sexy name like Swine Flu, Bird Flu, West Nile Virus or SARS. Other than that, you never hear about the flu. But, yet, the flu will kill a lot more people in the United States than Ebola ... by a long shot.

Guys, look. Stop reading or for your Ebola updates. Try reading the Mayo Clinic’s website, or even the CDC’s informative online presence. When you get real information from actual sources, then you will see what we are really up against.

The 24-hour news media cries wolf at least four or five times a year on these pandemics. None of them ever pan out and Ebola may come and go without ever killing an American. The people who live in Liberia do not have access to the same medical services, clean water and healthy foods that we have in America. Your American body is already an Ebola-killing machine. All you need to do is make sure that you hydrate yourself during the winter and wash your hands frequently. You know, the stuff you already do during the winter that has allowed you to avoid all of the other CNN pandemics.

Is Ebola a dangerous and scary disease? Of course it is. We should never make light of a virus that has already killed people in other parts of the world. But is Ebola a reason for you to dive under your bed and never come out? No, it isn’t. No matter how hard Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper try to convince you that you are doomed to die of Ebola, I am here to tell you that you will be fine.

All you need to do is engage in the normal hygiene habits you have used all along and you will have nothing to worry about. If you get a cough and a fever that do not seem to want to go away, then take the precaution of going to your doctor. But unless you have been rubbing up against sweaty strangers with open wounds on your body, then you don’t have Ebola. So relax and just enjoy yourself.

Nick Oliver is a Niagara County resident who does not have Ebola. His column appears every Wednesday and could be a carrier for West Nile Virus, whatever that may be.

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