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Ask Dr. Craig!: Salt Showers & Other Ebola Myths

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BellaNaija is pleased to announce a new column for our special readers – ‘Ask Dr. Craig!Dr. Craig is a BellaNaija columnist and one of the doctors who writes for BN Doctors’ Lounge {Get familiar here}. The idea behind ‘Ask Dr. Craig!’ is for BN readers to get quick sharp answers to niggling medical issues that they have. This does not in anyway mean that readers should not go to their doctors. However, sometimes you just need a human face to give answers to those fast, burning medical concerns our readers have.

Send your questions for Dr. Craig to features(at)bellanaija(dot)com stating your full name and where you are writing from. (Your name will never be published) The editor reserves the right to edit submissions for content brevity and clarity. We regret that we cannot provide individual answers to questions sent in and cannot state at which exact date answers would be published.
We hope that people will find help by reading and sharing. We look forward to reading your emails and tweets with questions for Dr. Craig.

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Dear Dr. Craig
Can salt help stop Ebola? Please reply.
Salt-Scared. Lagos

Dear Salt-Scared
No! It can’t.
Salt is ‘bacteriostatic’ meaning it will slow the growth of most BACTERIA. Some salts, (eg Dead Sea salts) are also ‘bactericidal’ meaning they can kill some bacteria as well.
Ebola however is a VIRUS and is unaffected by salt. Bathing, drinking or, applying salt will have no beneficial effect whatsoever. (Same goes for pepper, vinegar, kolanuts, “Agbo Jedi-Jedi” or “Burntashi”)

A person with Ebola is only infective when they begin to show symptoms. What this means is that you are very unlikely to contract the virus from a person who is not visibly ill.

Even though early symptoms may mimic other common febrile illnesses, the characteristic external bleeding from the mouth and nose and other sites as well as red eyes and mucous membranes clearly distinguish Ebola from other illnesses that cause fever and malaise.

Epidemiological research shows that majority of those who get infected are close family relations, carers and medical personnel who have been involved in the one on one treatment and care of victims. Persons who have handled corpses of Ebola victims are also prone. What this means is that unless you are a doctor, nurse, relative of an Ebola victim or an undertaker, your risk of contacting Ebola is (theoretically) very low.
Spread information, not fear.

For more information please visit ebolafacts.com

Disclaimer: This column is written for patient education. It is not intended to diagnose or prescribe treatment and does not replace the advice of your physician. It in no means attempts to cover the full medical scope of this condition.

Photo Credit: VisualScience.ru | G. Cabrera/ Reuters

39 Comments

  1. mixed race

    August 8, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    spread information, not fear!!! I cant say that enough… This last sentence says it all. SPREAD INFORMATION AND NOT FEAR!!!

  2. Mahmoud

    August 8, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    So Dr, Craig……the nine confirmed infection cases are all health personnel that took care of the Liberian…..pls I know for a fact…..that is not true……some of them never even met the man……they are secondary contacts from primary contacts that were not ill yet……we should all be careful as we handle things and touch surfaces……practice washing hands consistently.

    • Jane Public

      August 8, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      Ebola only becomes infectious after the carrier becomes ill, so mr, I know for a fact, please verify your information and stop spreading fear.

    • Tbaby

      August 8, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      @Mahmoud pls read n digest what d doc said.

  3. Hurperyeahmie

    August 8, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    If you have taken your bath with salt and warm water please do the following:
    1. Kindly go to your university, polytechnic or college of education and return your degree certificate.
    2. Also please ensure you refund ALL the fees your parents paid for you.
    3. And if you’ve not been to any school, don’t bother to waste your time, money and resources because it won’t make any difference…

    • Marie Antoinette

      August 8, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      Lmao! Your comment made my day! Ignorance is a disease.

    • hmm

      August 8, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      The Lord bless u 4 this

    • oj

      August 11, 2014 at 8:31 am

      Tell them o! even some who didn’t go to school didnt do this.

  4. warri pickin

    August 8, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    Condemnation is all African’s have been taught to do by the white man , what a shame to us all.
    Dr Craig use your talent to go researching for a cure, please. And can you tutor your audience if the oyibo man’s viccines imported is totally free from any natural leaf or natures (earth ) product ? You people are a serious problem i swear. My take on EBOLA or HIV , is let victims go ahead and try any alleged cure (For all we know anything can happen, as science is equally like magic ) until the world is able to come out with an acceptable cure, until then we shall keep trying abeggi.

    • Jane Public

      August 8, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      oh dear, you are part of the problem. Even natural cures come hand in hand with logic. When did Salt start preventing the contamination of a virus. SALT. S-A-L-T. Okay, so you took a bath with salt water, and that water will provide a covering on your skin right? Hooooooooooooooooow. Please share your words of wisdom, as the rest of the world is wrong.

    • Jo!

      August 8, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      ahn ahn, seriously? I don’t even know what to say.
      I doubt seriously that you went to school, any school at all.
      As in, I’m just irritated. How can a human being, with access to the internet be speaking like this in 2014?
      I kent abeg, I just can’t…

  5. Godfreak

    August 8, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Your name says it all “warri pickin” it explains your comment….go take a chill pill enh.

  6. Charming

    August 8, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    ok

  7. Marie Antoinette

    August 8, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Thanks Doc. Information is key.

    Unrelated comment…one hour later and I’m still shocked from seeing Nollywood actress Chiege Alisigwe at the airport, she’s as fair as Bianca Ojukwu or even fairer. Lord have mercy!
    She should to have a sweet caramel complexion.

  8. Anonymous

    August 8, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    What about those people we hear travelled to some countries where the disease is common for business meetings, have they treated or handled the corpse of infected people?

    • Dr. Craig

      August 10, 2014 at 11:34 am

      If there is an epidemic, then there is an increased concentration of the virus in the community.
      It is not airborne however. For a person to contract the virus, they have to have come in close contact with the bodily fluids of someone who has the disease.
      Wash hands, avoid touching body fluids, refrain from putting hands in mouth or on face. These things are the generally acceptable levels of personal hygiene. All we need to do is step it up a notch and be vigilant.
      As long as you take care to observe stringent hygiene and avoid persons displaying symptoms of Ebola, there should theoretically be nothing to be afraid of
      Kind regards,
      Dr. Craig

    • nicky

      August 11, 2014 at 9:08 am

      Doc, you are so fine, you should be quarantined for spreading crushes!! butterfly kisses to you. mwahh

  9. Omo

    August 8, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Cute Dr. Craig 🙂

    • Moi

      August 8, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      My dear, dis doctor fine sha…

    • Ella

      August 11, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      Someone read my mind. I’m not alone lol. Dr Craig pls are u single? I’m interested oh. I’m in healthcare also so…… Wanna grab a drink sometime so we talk about microorganisms? Wink*

  10. Tru

    August 8, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Many thanks Dr Craig. Even the WHO site did not provide such clear, concise content. Maybe now us Nigerians will start to use our brains and at least think and/or seek information before scrambling to bathe in salty Bar Beach!

  11. ama

    August 8, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    By the way this is one cute doctor! ok back to the matter…

  12. Stephanie

    August 8, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Hello Dr Craig, this question doesn’t concern Ebola doh, it about my brother who currently has seizure and also vomit, this is the second time it’s happening to him, I don’t know the cause and he has actually done two different brain test and nothing was found. Pls I need reply thanks

    • deb

      August 8, 2014 at 11:01 pm

      It might be a form of epilepsy. If eventually, no medical aid is found, seek spiritual help ASAP. I. Av a close family member with same issues.

  13. mayrolala

    August 8, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    @ Huperyeahmie ….. cant stop laffing

  14. DrCraigCrush

    August 8, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    I can spend eternity looking into your eyes. Thanks for the information. Muah!

  15. yourstrulyblogposts.blogspot.com

    August 8, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    People perish because they lack knowledge – Arm yourself with knowledge. Goes to show there are lots of gullible people out there!

  16. chiny

    August 8, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    I just like the doctor, very cute and he is equally a pastor, my ideal guy. Thanks for the tips on Ebola .

  17. Her Excellency!

    August 8, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Dr Craig, are you married??????
    Cos ur profile didnt say so…
    l didnt read ur writeup, all l did was staring into ur blue eyes
    U dey stop traffic oooo
    (pls ans my question asap)

  18. Lindsey

    August 9, 2014 at 6:13 am

    So for those of us with follow up questions on Ebola, how can we contact Dr. Craig? Pls email or mobile number would be great. Thanks bellanaija team

  19. Firsttimecommenting

    August 9, 2014 at 8:24 am

    For those eyeing Dr Craig, please remember he is a medical practitioner, you can read what he said about risk of contracting ebola…. not all that glitters is gold… lol, pun intended….

  20. Nelly Udoh

    August 9, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Lwkmd…oh my! BN are you guys sure this Dr is a pastor?

  21. Nelly Udoh

    August 9, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Lwkmd…oh my! His face is a great vaccine to ebola

  22. Chike

    August 9, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Hello dr craig,
    I have a question not related to the topic, I am a medical student and I am seriously thinking about doing a masters in public health.
    Seeing that you have gone down this path, what is this branch of medicine like in Nigeria? Are you currently making use of that degree? And apart from consulting for oil companies, what other advantage does the degree hold over your regular mbbs? Expecting your speedy reply.

  23. armywife

    August 9, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    You guys are hella funny!!! A patient treated by the doc who treated SAwyer just tested positive. How did this happen she had no contact with sawyer only with the asymptomatic doc.

    • Dr. Craig

      August 10, 2014 at 11:25 am

      The Doctor had to have been ill to be able to spread the virus to his patient.

  24. Olanne

    August 10, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Dr Craig, you are fynnnnnne and you know this.

  25. adeola

    August 11, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    god will help us in this country but if you said that i agree u

  26. Chike

    August 12, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Dr craig,
    please answer my question. Thank you.

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