The end is nigh

October 30th, 2014



I am ready to add a new T-shirt to my collection.


“I survived Ebola 2014” will fit nicely in my wardrobe next to shirts such as “I survived swine flu” and “I survived Y2K.”


Every time I turn around, someone is trying to predict what the cause of my death will be. By some accounts, I shouldn’t be alive. The West Nile virus or swine flu should have done me in by now. The Mayans also failed to predict my demise.


Ebola is the newest apocalyptic craze. After the disease made a guest appearance in Ohio, doomsday prophets were preaching from their pulpits, warning that the disease would spread across the country like wildfire.


Panic is easily induced in our society. Widespread fear can be triggered easily by one idiot with a microphone. We’ve watched so many horror movies that we’re as jumpy as a young trick-or-treater alone on Halloween.


All the while, public officials and members of the media tried to quell the panic with facts about the disease. Despite their reassurances, many started running to their underground bunkers and putting on Hazmat suits.


Ebola is a serious problem, especially in West Africa, but it will not result in the fall of Western civilization.


Only three confirmed cases have been diagnosed in the U.S., but the disease still scares us. We shouldn’t be worried.


After some early missteps, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have the situation under control. New protocols have limited the possibilities for this disease to spread. In addition, the disease is only spread through bodily fluids and can be largely prevented with good hygiene.


Soon we’ll stop worrying about Ebola and move on to the next thing. A new wacko is sure to predict the end of the world any time now, causing some to sprint to the nearest grocery market.


Worrying does lead to one good thing – preparation. When we fear something in the future, we begin to prepare for its occurrence. Just as a squirrel buries nuts to survive the winter, we plan our survival.


Once we stop preparing for major diseases, we run a high risk. As a society, we are already incredibly susceptible to disease.


Since the last widespread, deadly disease hit the United States – the influenza epidemic of 1918 – we have made great strides in medicine and personal hygiene.


Yet, our frequent lack of common sense negates those advances.


How many times have you washed your hands in the past day? Do you stay home when you are sick or do you go to class and spread your illness to others?


We think that disease is a weakness, something to be ignored. That’s why we don’t take a day off unless we have to.


We need to stop panicking and start preparing. We can’t prevent a major calamity, but we can make a small impact by doing the little things.


Here are a few simple things you can do to prevent the spread of communicable diseases:

1. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Hand sanitizer works in a pinch, but soap and water is best; 2. Keep a supply of bottled watter in case your water supply in case your water supply becomes contaminated. Stocking up on canned food doesn’t hurt, either; 3. Get your flu shot and make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date; 4. Check the CDC’s website for reliable information.


Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. We can’t afford to fail.