What Your Massage Therapist Wants You To Know About Ebola

Woman sneezing. Courtesy of Amy Wilbanks.You probably have noticed a lot of discussion in the news about the Ebola Hemorrhagic Virus, particularly since the discovery of a case in Dallas, Texas, the first confirmed case in the United States. Should you be worried? Let’s take a look at how this virus spreads, and how you can protect yourself and your family.

Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth) with

  • blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola
  • objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus
  • infected animals
  • Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food. However, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats. There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit Ebola virus. Only mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys, and apes) have shown the ability to become infected with and spread Ebola virus.

Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and the family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with infected blood or body fluids of sick patients. (CDC)

That sounds dire, but it’s really not that terrible at all. Since the virus is only transmissible through direct contact of bodily fluids of infected persons who are currently showing symptoms of Ebola, it’s not as easy to get sick. In fact, Ebola is less contagious than Mumps, Measles, SARS, and even HIV (NPR)

Still, it’s important to know how best to prevent getting sick, or spreading diseases, whether that be from Ebola, or the upcoming cold and flu season.
1. Don’t touch the bodily fluids of others! Blood, saliva, urine, feces, vomit, sweat, snot, you name it, if it’s “warm, wet, and not yours”, grab a pair of latex or vinyl gloves.
2. Wash your hands frequently. Using soap and running water, scrub every part of your hands for at least 30 seconds. This includes the front, the back, in between your fingers, and under your nails- all of it. Don’t have a sink available? Use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Rub it into your hands thoroughly until your hands have air dried, do not wipe them.

  1. Don’t touch your face. The mucous membranes of your eyes, nose, and mouth are warm, and porous, and the perfect place for germs to take hold. You don’t know what you’ve picked up on public surfaces, don’t risk it.
  2. Sneeze into your sleeve, please! If you need to cough or sneeze and don’t have a tissue available, do not cough into your hands! Not only is that a very easy way to spread your germs to others, your hands do not catch as much of the spray as you would hope. Instead, sneeze into your elbow or upper arm.
  3. If you’re beginning to feel sick, or are exhibiting symptoms of any sort, STAY HOME. Do not go out in public, do not go to work, and definitely do not come get a massage. I know, I know- our society doesn’t expect us to put our life on hold until it is absolutely necessary. But you’re not helping anyone, including yourself, when you’re out spreading your germs instead of resting at home. We have a 24 Hour Cancellation and Rescheduling Policy at Invigorate Massage and Wellness, but I would much rather waive the cancellation fee and get you rescheduled to a time when you’re not sick than have you come into the office only to be sent home. It’s important to take care of yourself, and in this case, that means not getting a massage.

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