What to do if you have monkeypox: isolation, treatment, etc.

what’s happening

Monkeypox outbreaks are growing in the United States, but vaccines and other treatments are available.

why it matters

With the outbreak showing no signs of abating so far, more people will be diagnosed with or infected with monkeypox in the coming weeks.

what it means to you

Anyone who has been in close contact with a sick person can become infected, but monkeypox does not spread as easily as COVID-19 or the flu. Most affected right now are men who have sex with men.

The monkeypox outbreak is now officially public health emergency in the United States. monkeypox It’s not a new disease, but the fact that it’s spreading in countries where it’s not normally found teeth New. In addition, monkeypox symptoms in this outbreak appear to be presenting in a slightly different way. People today develop rashes anywhere on the body, as opposed to the more “classical” rashes of earlier cases that start on the face and spread from there.

Could you have monkeypox or have you been exposed recently? is. But unlike the early days of COVID-19, diseases like monkeypox aren’t exactly new to us, so monkeypox already has real tried and tested treatments and guidance. Monkeypox is related to smallpox and is endemic in certain African countries.

Guidance on what to do if you get monkeypox or what to do if you get monkeypox says:

Avoid shaving near the rash while recovering from monkeypox to avoid spreading the virus to new parts of your body.

Luana Cavatella/EyeEm/Getty Images

What to do if you have monkeypox

Have been infected with monkeypox, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention very close contact with monkeypox patients. This includes contact with rashes or sores from sex, kissing, or hugging, and sharing towels, beds, and clothing. Monkeypox can also be spread by prolonged face-to-face contact. Researchers are studying whether it spreads to bodily fluids such as semen and vaginal fluids.

Vaccine if possible

If you have had monkeypox within the last two weeks and have no symptoms, call your local health department and Gineos vaccineVaccines are most effective when given within 4 days of exposure, but may still be effective in reducing the severity of symptoms if given within 4 days to 2 weeks of initial exposure.

Criteria for who can be vaccinated vary from city to city based on the degree of spread in a particular area, but if you are exposed, you are likely to live in an area that offers the vaccine. Also, in areas such as large cities such as New York City, San Francisco, and Denver, gay and bisexual men who have had multiple or anonymous sexual partners within the past two weeks are considered legal partners. Vaccines are eligible regardless. Exposure.

Unfortunately, demand for the vaccine is high and supply is relatively low. To maximize your chances of immediate vaccination and to see what other resources are available, you should contact your doctor in addition to your health department.

People in line for monkeypox vaccine

People line up for the monkeypox vaccine at a makeshift clinic in Brooklyn, New York. The government releases doses of Gynneos at the request of states, but supplies are limited.

Kena Betancourt/Getty Images

monitor symptoms

Now, the CDC says people who have monkeypox but don’t have symptoms can continue with their daily lives. You are not contagious until symptoms start, so you do not need to isolate yourself (if you do get it).Common symptoms of monkeypox including fever, swollen lymph nodes, or new rashIf the rash has spread, you may feel pain in your anus or mouth.

The CDC also recommends taking your temperature twice a day to monitor for fever.

If you develop symptoms or feel that something is wrong, you should avoid close contact with other people and follow the guidance below.

What to do if you have monkeypox

According to the CDC, if you see a doctor and tests confirm it, or if you’ve been directly exposed and have all symptoms of monkeypox, isolate yourself from others and stay home until your symptoms resolve. This includes avoiding public transport where you may come into close contact with another person’s body.

It is considered infectious until the wound or rash has crusted and formed a new skin layer. The entire illness usually lasts 2 to 4 weeks. You should also call your healthcare provider right away to know your next steps, including whether you need to get additional treatment.

How do you know you have monkeypox?

Symptoms usually appear within 3 weeks of close contact with a monkeypox patient. Common symptoms of monkeypox include:

  • A rash or sore anywhere on the body, including the genitals, anus, hands, face, chest, and mouth. The pain can be severe in some people.
  • heat
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • cold
  • fatigue
  • muscle pain
  • Respiratory symptoms such as coughing and nasal congestion

All or only some of these symptoms may occur. For a person who experiences flu-like symptoms, the rash usually appears one to four days after he starts feeling sick.

The only way to confirm a case of monkeypox is to swab the affected area in a health care setting. Testing capacity is improving in the United States, but results may still take time to come back. According to the CDC, while you wait, you should remain in isolation while you have symptoms.

Examples of monkeypox lesions

Some examples of monkeypox lesions.

NHS England High Outcome Infectious Diseases Network

quarantine at home

CDC’s home isolation guidance for monkeypox patients is to avoid close contact and intimacy (such as hugging, kissing, and sex). The agency also says sharing linens and towels should be avoided.

If you live with others and are around them at home, you should wear a mask for added protection.

If you have no choice but to go out or live with other people, cover the rash or sore with tight-fitting clothing such as pants or a long shirt, and wear gloves if the rash spreads to your hands.

If possible, you should use a separate bathroom from the rest of your family and avoid sharing food, dishes, or used utensils.

If using the same bathroom is the only option, monkeypox patients should disinfect common areas (toilet seats, showers, bathroom counters, etc.) with disinfectant after use and wear gloves if necessary. There is

personal care tips

If you wear contacts, don’t wear them when you’re sick to avoid accidentally contracting monkeypox, according to the CDC. If you shave, don’t shave the parts of your body covered by the rash for the time being.

According to the CDC, poxviruses like monkeypox can survive on clothing and surfaces, so it’s important to disinfect anything you touched while you were infected. It’s not entirely clear to what extent there is a risk of spreading it in public places, but precautions should be taken when doing laundry in public laundromats. It has its own guidance, and the CDC recommends checking with your local health department to find the best “wash method.”

avoid contact with animals

Unfortunately, monkeypox is a zoonotic disease, transmitted from animals to humans. This means that it can infect other pets that are mammals such as dogs, cats, or mice. (Non-mammals such as reptiles, birds, and fish probably don’t get monkeypox, according to the CDC.) Technically, it’s currently unknown if cats and dogs get monkeypox, but other We assume they can also catch monkeypox, as it can be infected with the orthopox virus.

If possible, the CDC recommends that someone else care for your pet while you are sick or recovering from monkeypox. If that is not possible, keep it away from bandages, beds, towels, and anything else that may be contaminated.

If you notice any unusual behavior in your pet, or if you think your pet may have become ill after exposure to monkeypox, contact your veterinarian or state animal health authority. .

dog lying on the sofa

If possible, you should have another person care for your pet while you recover from monkeypox, according to the CDC. It is currently unknown whether cats and dogs can be infected with monkeypox, but they can be infected with similar orthopoxviruses. If they need to be with you, keep them away from used towels, bedding, or other linens.

Katerinasergeevna/Getty Images

Do you need treatment for monkeypox?

Most people with monkeypox do not need additional treatment, and staying home and managing symptoms is guidance. However, some people have very painful lesions. In that case, you should contact your doctor for pain management. Dr. Bernard Cummins, medical director for infection prevention at Mount Sinai Health System, told the New York Times that doctors may recommend sitz baths or stool softeners if needed.

More than 6,000 monkeypox deaths have not been reported in the United States. However, according to the CDC, people at higher risk for serious illness, including those with compromised immune systems, children under the age of 8, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and those with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, and those who have additional Some need medical attention.

There are several drugs or antivirals that the CDC lists as possible treatments for monkeypox in some patients. For example, tecovirimat (TPOXX) and brincidofovir are both approved for the treatment of smallpox and are believed to be effective against monkeypox.

If you may be at high risk for serious illness and your doctor has not yet offered treatment options, ask about what might be available.


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