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What I Told My Kids About Ebola and Cleveland Yesterday

"3d Image Ebola Alert Concept" by David Castillo Dominici via

With all that has been said (and done) regarding Ebola yesterday…all I did was wonder:
'What are my children hearing? What are they thinking?'

So many times in the past, I wanted to be the first one to be able to talk with them about something important or scary, and the school did it first (and a poor job of it at that). This was not because they are bad schools or teacher, on the contrary, I love our awesome leaders and programs, they just aren't my child's parent, nor do they know how to keep it low, calm and to the point sometimes.

So…I thought it best to talk to my kids about Ebola, ASAP, before their teachers or fellow students had a chance to feed them 'other stuff' like:  "Ebola is IN Cleveland". (As I found out my 17 year old already heard.) 


So far, as much as we know, Ebola is NOT in Cleveland, and we can only hope it will not show up after all the news on this most recent (and devastating) series of poor decisions made by those supposedly monitoring people (and themselves) for the disease. Major errors have obviously been made. We are human. And sadly this leaves room for error. This sort of thing will continue to happen around the world, in every way/shape/form as long as we have brains and aren't robots. 

(Think: denial, laxness, fear…)

One thing I'm thinking today is that with all that has come to pass, there is actually quite a bit of blame to be put on the person at the CDC who took Vinson's call but did NOT recommend she remain grounded. Considering that's just my personal opinion, I think we should move on to the point...

How I explained the Ebola scare to my children:
  • I gathered as much information as possible from sources I trust who generally report as factually as possible (or that I can tell do): CNN, Local News (weeding out any hype and scare)
  • I listened to press conferences and messages from those at the top (again, it's all I have): Cleveland Mayor, CDC, etc.
  • I am not panicking (what good is that in ANY situation?)
  • I stayed with the facts (it's as severe as the flu-less common currently-but you can catch it, some die from it, but some also survive) UPDATE: just to clarify my likening Ebola to the Flu, I am referring to it's commonality in society and chances of getting, not by way it is transmitted- because from what we know Ebola is not an airborne disease)
  • I was honest (yes there is reasons for concern, yes I am concerned)
  • I answered questions (no, currently there is no proof it's in Cleveland, right -there is no 'said' cure but many people survive with varying treatments)
At this point, that's all they need to know. Trust me, it's enough and even maybe too much, but they need to know it, and they need to hear it from you.

The ages of my children? 
10, 13 and 17

Now, we carry on. Because, honestly, there is nothing else we can do at this point, other than be aware (this is half the battle) and take some extra measures to wash, be safe as possible, etc. (this is the other half).

I hope this helps you speak with your family and children about Ebola in a way that brings you together and helps you remain a trusted source of information while comforting them as well.

Here are some helpful links:

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