Emergency departments are the nation's front line for all medical emergencies, including the current Ebola situation in the United States.
Back in March, when Ebola was first reported, there was little concern that the virus could spread past African borders.
Emergency rooms throughout America were given several precautions anyway, just in case Ebola would arrive. Throughout the last few months, several infected patients have landed on U.S. soil to seek medical treatment.
Patients who haven't shown any symptoms and are living their everyday lives often are criticized later when all of a sudden their symptoms appear and they need to be taken to a hospital. Why weren't they more careful? Why didn't they just stay home?
Just like the flu symptoms, Ebola symptoms come out of nowhere and hit you like a bus. One day you're completely fine and the next you develop fever, chills, aches and pains. But, if you've happened to come in contact with these patients, it doesn't necessarily mean you will develop Ebola.
Ebola is not airborne, but what if an infected individual sneezes near you. Should you be worried?
When you sneeze or cough, droplets can land anywhere up to four feet. However, until you're so sick that the virus in your body has drastically multiplied to the point where you're bleeding (and unable to actually get up and walk around), you do not have to worry about catching Ebola through a sneeze.
Are ERs really prepared to handle this?
Nurses Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, who took care of Thomas Eric Duncan at a Dallas hospital before his passing due to Ebola, were the first two people known to develop the virus in the U.S. This led many to believe ERs weren't prepared; that ERs couldn't contain the virus and further precautions needed to be enforced.
Further precautions are taking place, by training medical staff in the proper ways to put on and take off protective Hazmat gear.
What else do you need to know about how ERs are prepared to handle Ebola?
Rade B. Vukmir, MD, and David C. Pigott, MD, discuss if ERs are prepared enough and the precautions emergency departments around the country are practicing.