Should I Be Concerned About Ebola?

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All right… it’s getting a tad harder to ignore the Ebola outbreak now. Sure, I’m told/read that the chances of getting it are highly unlikely, it will never make its way to the US… and now it has… and now we have had our first US related death. So, it was time for Breezy Mama to take this one on and turn to one of our favorite go-to pediatricians, Dr. Shakha Gillin. Read on to find out how much of a concern it is, whether there is an Ebola vaccine for adults and children and more.

Why is everyone freaking out about Ebola? What happens if we catch it?

Because it is a deadly virus. Unlike many viruses that just make us sick, this one kills.

Symptoms of Ebola Virus are fever (>101.5), headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain.

Ebola is contagious when a patient has symptoms, not before.

Should we be concerned? Every time I’m told the chances are really unlikely, it seems like another “unlikely” person gets it.

Yes and no. We need to make sure the Ebola Virus does not cause an epidemic here in our country. Currently, we are mostly in the prevention stage- preventing it from coming to the US. This means making sure there are not individuals that are bringing it here. Currently the epidemic is in West Africa (Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea- I’ll save you a trip to your kids globe). It can take up to 21 days to have symptoms of Ebola Virus from the time of exposure. So anyone who has been to those countries in the past 21 days, and are ill need to be evaluated and possibly isolated.

No- we do not need to lose sleep for ourselves and our kids right now. We do not have an epidemic here, and hopefully will not. But use common sense. If your best friend just returned from Liberia, maybe no play dates until next month.

Are there precautions to take to keep ourselves and our kids safe?

Yes, cancel that trip to Liberia. But seriously, for now use regular precautions- staying home when sick will protect others from getting sick. Healthcare providers are being very vigilant. Hospitals are prepared to take care of a patient with possible Ebola.

The key is to notify us [doctors] ASAP if you have been to the Ebola affected countries.

Will there be a vaccine?

Not yet.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Yes – You know what I always say- why risk being in contact with anyone sick. If you are sick, stay home. Even if its not Ebola, I don’t want you to share other illnesses with me! And your kids do not want it either. The general rule is stay away from others until you have no fever for 24 hours. And please always cover your cough (and not with 1 or 2 fingers, but really cover it, and try and cough in another direction).

And totally unrelated- get your flu vaccine… before we start having those stories on the news 🙂

About Dr. Gillin:

Co-founder of Coast Pediatrics Del Mar , Shakha Gillin, MD, FAAP, has been in North County since 1990. She attended UCSD for her undergraduate education and for medical school. She did her residency at UC Irvine, and was the chief resident at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach. She practiced pediatrics in La Jolla for 5 years and Encinitas for 5 years. She has also worked at a private practice in Newport Beach and at the Rady Children’s Hospital Emergency Department.

Dr. Shakha Gillin has a special interest in preventative care, particularly healthy and active lifestyles for children. She was recognized by San Diego Magazine as a “Top Doctor” in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011,  2012, 2013 and 2014. She was recognized as “Best Pediatrician” by Ranch and Coast in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

For more information and to contact Dr. Gillin, visit: www.coastpediatrics.com

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