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Ebola: Keeping the Panic at Bay

No matter where you turn, there are news stories about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The reports staggering: over 800 people have died, it is one of the most deadliest diseases in the world and currently there is no cure. At the beginning, it was simple to ease your children's (and your own) fears with the fact that this outbreak was on the other side of the world. However, the latest reports of two American Ebola patients being transported to the CDC in Atlanta GA now makes the disease closer to home. It is important to help your children understand these latest chain of events and not have everyone (including yourself) to be overcome by worry.

Your young child may ask: why were these ill patients moved back here knowing they have a deadly disease? One response could be for them to imagine they were hurt at a far away camp site. Wouldn't they want to be transported to a hospital so that could give better care? You can point out that all precautions are in place and these patients are at the most optimal facility to fight this disease. Another question that could be posed by your child is why did some infected people not go for treatment? You could remind them of times they were scared and didn't want to go to the doctor, even though the visits were for their own good. The purpose of this dialogue is to have your child relate to the patients and victims rather than to shun them.

Be sure to keep the flow of information accessible and let them know it is natural to be selfish in times of crisis, yet survival does depend on helping others.