What is happening
Monkeypox is endemic in the United States, but vaccines and other treatments are available.
Why is it important?
As the outbreak continues, more people will be diagnosed with or exposed to monkeypox in the coming weeks.
What does it mean to you?
Anyone in close contact with someone who has the disease can get it, but monkeypox doesn’t spread as easily as COVID-19 or the flu. Currently, the most affected people are men who have sex with men.
The monkeypox epidemic is now officially ain the United States. is not a new disease, but the fact that it is spreading in countries where it is not usually found. does new. Moreover, in this outbreak, the symptoms of monkeypox are presented in a slightly different way. Today, people get rashes all over their body, as opposed to the more “classic” rashes of the past, which started on the face and spread from there.
Do you think you have or have you recently had monkeypox? Take a deep breath: It’s normal to feel anxious or uncertain, especially if your symptoms are causing you pain. But unlike in the early days of COVID-19, there are already tried and true treatments and guidelines for monkeypox, as illnesses like this are not entirely new to us. Monkey pox is related to smallpox and is endemic to some African countries.
Here’s what to do if you have or have been exposed to monkeypox.
What to do if you are exposed to monkeypox
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if you have been exposed to monkeypox, if very close contact with a person with a monkey flower. This includes things like touching their rash or sores during sex, kissing, cuddling, or sharing towels, bedding, or clothing. Monkey pox can also be spread through prolonged face-to-face contact; researchers are studying whether it spreads in body fluids such as semen and vaginal fluid.
Vaccinate if possible
If you have been exposed to monkeypox in the past two weeks and have no symptoms, you should contact your local health department.. The vaccine is most effective when given within four days of exposure, but may be effective in reducing the severity of symptoms if given between four days and two weeks after initial exposure.
While the criteria for who can get it varies from city to city based on how prevalent it is in a given area, if you’re lucky you live in an area that offers the vaccine. Also, in New York, San Francisco, Denver, and other major cities, gay and bisexual men who have had multiple or anonymous sexual partners in the past two weeks are eligible for the vaccine, whether or not they are official. exposed.
Unfortunately, the demand for the vaccine has been high and the supply relatively low. In addition to the health department, you should call your doctor to ensure your chances of getting vaccinated soon and to see what other resources are available to you.
If you are at higher risk of severe illness from monkeypox (for example, if you have an immunocompromised condition), contact your doctor to see if there are additional treatments or antivirals available after exposure.
Currently, the CDC says that if you’ve been exposed to monkeypox but have no symptoms, you can go about your daily activities while continuing to watch and monitor them. You don’t have to isolate because you’re not contagious until symptoms start (if they ever do). Common symptoms of monkey disease. If the rash is spreading, you may also have pain in your anus or mouth.
The CDC recommends taking your temperature twice a day to monitor for any fever.
If you develop symptoms or feel that something is not right, you should avoid close contact with people and follow the instructions below.
What to do if you have monkeypox
If you’ve been to the doctor and a test has confirmed it, or if you’ve been directly exposed and have all the symptoms of monkeypox, you should isolate from other people and stay home until your symptoms go away, according to the CDC. This includes avoiding public transport where you may come into close contact with other people’s bodies.
Until your sores or rash become itchy and a new layer of skin forms, you are considered contagious. The entire illness usually lasts two to four weeks. You should call your healthcare provider right away to find out what to do next, including whether you need to come in for further treatment.
How do I know if I have monkeypox?
Symptoms usually appear within three weeks of close contact with a monkeypox patient. Common symptoms of monkey pox include:
- A rash or spots anywhere on the body, including the genitals, anus, hands, face, chest, or mouth. For some people, sores can be really painful.
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Don’t get cold
- Muscle aches
- Respiratory symptoms such as cough or nasal congestion
You may experience all or only a few of these symptoms. For people who experience flu-like symptoms, a rash usually appears one to four days after becoming ill.
The only way to confirm monkeypox is to be tested at a medical facility that involves removing the lesions. Testing is improving in the US, but it may still take some time for your results to come back. While you wait, you should continue to isolate if you have symptoms, according to the CDC.
Isolate at home
The CDC’s home isolation guidelines for people with monkeypox are to avoid close contact and intimacy (hugging, kissing, sex, etc.) with people. The agency also says you should avoid sharing linens and towels. (Like the bath towel you wipe your hands with.)
If you live with other people and are around them at home, you should wear a mask for extra protection.
If going out is unavoidable or you live with other people, cover the rash or sores with well-fitting clothing, such as pants or a long shirt, and gloves if the rash has spread to the hands.
If possible, you should also use a separate bathroom from other people in your household and avoid sharing food, utensils or used items.
If using the same bathroom is the only option, a person with monkeypox should disinfect common areas (toilet seat, shower, bathroom counter, etc.) after use and wear gloves as needed, the CDC says.
Personal care tips
According to the CDC, if you wear contacts, you shouldn’t wear them while you’re sick to avoid accidentally infecting your eyes with monkeypox. If you shave, you should stop shaving any part of your body that is covered with a rash for now.
Poxviruses, like monkeypox, can live on clothing and surfaces, according to the CDC, so it’s important to disinfect things you touch while you’re contagious. While it’s not entirely clear how much of a risk it is to spread it in public, there are precautions you should take if you do your laundry at a public laundromat. New York City has its own guidelines for washing laundry with monkeypox, and the CDC recommends contacting your local health department to find the best “washing option.”
Avoid contact with animals
Unfortunately, monkeypox is a zoonotic disease, meaning it is transmitted from animals to humans. This means you have a chance of infecting your dog, cat, or other mammal pet, such as a rat. (According to the CDC, non-mammal animals such as reptiles, birds, and fish cannot get monkeypox.) Technically, it’s not yet known whether cats or dogs can get monkeypox, but that’s for the best because they can be infected with other orthopoxviruses. suppose they can catch the monkey flower too.
If possible, the CDC recommends having someone else care for your pet while you are sick or recovering from monkeypox. If this is not possible, keep them away from your dressings, bedding, towels or other contaminated materials.
Contact your personal veterinarian or state animal health official if you notice that your pet is acting differently, or if you think it may have become ill after coming into contact with someone with monkeypox.
Do I need treatment for monkeypox?
Most people with monkeypox do not need further treatment and the indication will be to stay at home and manage symptoms. However, some people have lesions that are quite painful, in which case you should call your doctor for help with pain management. Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Mount Sinai Health System Dr. A doctor may recommend sitz baths or stool softeners if necessary, Bernard Camins told The New York Times.
Of more than 7,500 cases in the United States, no monkeypox deaths have been reported. However, some people are at greater risk of severe disease or may require additional treatment, including people with compromised immune systems, children younger than 8, people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and people with skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, according to the CDC. those who
There are several medications or antivirals that the CDC lists as possible treatments for monkeypox in some patients. For example, Tecovirimat (TPOXX) and Brincidofovir are approved to treat smallpox and are also believed to work against monkeypox.
If you think you are at higher risk of severe disease and have not yet been offered treatment options by your doctor, ask what may be available to you.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or health goals.