A Nurse's Perspective
We don’t ever see what Ebola does. Our media is too censored, we hear how many died, and see people in haz-mat suits. Speaking of suits, we’ve all seen the pictures. Rubber gloves are adequate for AIDS and hepatitis, a simple mask stops Tuberculosis, but this requires space suits, just keep that in mind when you think its no big deal. So here is what happens when you catch Ebola, I figure you’re getting bored with reading right about now, so I’ll spice it up. First the virus gets into your system, I’ll elaborate on that later. Then, it hangs out for a few days, even up to 21, growing, multiplying at a rate of millions a day, and guess what, you’re infectious. Just like with the flu or hand foot and mouth disease, you can be spreading it to others before you show a symptom*. Remember, nurse mind set, protect the community. At first it’s not bad, little nausea, some sweating, diarrhea, much like a stomach bug. But then the virus really starts to build up in your liver and adrenal glands, after it has saturated your blood cells, the lining of your vessel, your skin, and bones. Hepatocellular necrosis occurs, which is fancy term for your liver starts to decompose.Your liver is what regulates blood clotting. This causes your blood either clot up and turn to jelly in your veins, stay liquid and bleed profusely, or a combo of both. The adrenal glands then do the same, causing your blood pressure to drop. This requires lots of IV fluids to keep your circulating volume up. At the same time inflammatory cytokines are released which causes vascular leakage. Cells don’t do a good job of holding things together so it all becomes a bloody goop. Anywhere in your body that blood vessels are shallow, like your nose, ears, gums, throat, GI tract, urethra, vagina, rectum, all start oozing fluids and bleeding because the tissues that normally keep it contained are disintegrating. So now you bleed from every orifice, including your eyeballs. Every time someone or something touches you, your tissue gets damaged which further the cycle, so a shot in the arm turn into a massive blood blister. Those who survive are left with massive scarring. Since the adrenals cannot keep your blood pressure up, and you are losing blood and fluids, we have to put IV fluids in to keep you out of hypovolemic shock. This in turn reduces your blood concentration, lowering your oxygen carrying capacity, which causes your heart to race. So you lay in bed, oozing fluids from everywhere, all while feeling like you just ran a marathon, with bloody diarrhea, oh and did I mention pain? Lots and lots of pain, but you can’t have any pain medicine because your liver and kidneys have failed. This why it pains me when I see this outbreak ONLY has a 50% death rate, when in Africa it is up to 90%…ONLY 50%. That is literally worse than cancer, and people are blowing it off. Imagine if cancer was infectious, and you lived in a country with zero cancer, and someone thought it would be a good idea to fly a few people in. I think there would be a different attitude.
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