How to prevent and treat monkeypox explains how you can get relief from symptoms if infected, and how to stop getting infected. What is monkeypox? Monkeypox is an illness caused by the monkeypox virus which spreads from animals to humans. And also spread from person to person, children and adults alike.
On July 23, 2022, the World Health Organisation (WHO) in view of the multi-country outbreak of monkeypox declared the virus a public health emergency of global concern.
Therefore, how to prevent and treat monkeypox is all you need to know about this annoying and discomforting virus infection.
The symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy, and swollen lymph nodes. This is followed by the development of rashes that can last for two to three weeks. The rashes are found on the face, and palms of the hands. As well as the soles of the feet, eyes, mouth, throat, and groin. Including the genital and/or anal regions of your body. The number of lesions can range from one to several thousand. Lesions begin flat, then fill with liquid before they crust over, dry up and fall off. A fresh layer of skin soon forms underneath. Seeing the photos of infected persons is enough for you to get on the mission of how to prevent and treat monkeypox.
How Does Monkeypox Spread?
Monkeypox spreads from person to person through close contact with someone who has a monkeypox rash. This body contact includes face-to-face, skin-to-skin, mouth-to-mouth, or mouth-to-skin contact, and sexual contact.
Also contagious is when an infectious person touches clothing, bedding, towels, objects, and surfaces. Hence, another person who touches these items can then become infected. It is also possible for you to become infected from breathing in skin flakes or viruses from clothing, bedding, or towels.
The virus can also spread to the foetus if you are pregnant. After birth through skin-to-skin contact. Or from a parent with monkeypox to an infant or child during close contact.
But it is unclear whether infection can spread through semen, vaginal fluids, amniotic fluids, breast milk, or blood. Research is ongoing to find out more about whether you can spread monkeypox through the exchange of these fluids during and after symptomatic infection.
Can Monkeypox Cause Death?
Although, the symptoms of monkeypox go away on their own within a few weeks. Nonetheless, in some people, the infection can lead to medical complications and even death. Examples are newborn babies, children, and people with immune deficiencies. They may be at risk of serious symptoms and death from monkeypox.
In the past, between 1% and 10% of people with monkeypox died due to limited access to health care. But currently, these figures may be overrated. This is because outbreaks in the newly affected countries have had no deaths to date.
It is important to reduce your risk of monkeypox infection by limiting close contact with people who have alleged or confirmed monkeypox. Or with animals who could be infected. In addition;
- Clean and disinfect regularly environments that could have been contaminated with the virus by someone who is infected.
- Have frank conversations with those you come into sexual contact with about any symptoms you or they may have.
- Protect others by isolating yourself if you have monkeypox until all of your sores have crusted over, the scabs have fallen off and a new layer of skin has formed underneath.
- Use condoms as a precaution whilst having sexual contact for 12 weeks after you have recovered.
A vaccine has been approved to prevent monkeypox. As such, you should be considered for vaccination only if you are at risk by having been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox. But mass vaccination is not recommended for now.
If needed, medication for pain and fever can be prescribed to relieve some symptoms. Although symptoms go away on their own, remember to follow your doctor’s advice if you have monkeypox. In addition;
- Equally important for you if infected are healthy habits such as good hydration, healthy eating, adequate sleep, and light exercise. And keeping in touch with loved ones through technology.
- Keep your rash clean with sterilised water or antiseptic. Saltwater rinses can be used for lesions in the mouth. While warm baths with baking soda and Epsom salts can help with lesions on the body. Lidocaine can be applied to oral and perianal lesions to relieve pain.
- Avoid scratching your skin. And clean your hands before and after touching lesions. Do not forget to keep your skin dry and uncovered.
- Tecovirimat an antiviral developed to treat smallpox was approved in January 2022 to treat monkeypox. However this therapeutic is limited in the context of the monkeypox outbreak.
Can You Contact Monkeypox Through Sex?
Monkeypox can spread through close contact of any kind, including through kissing, touching, oral, and penetrative vaginal. Or through anal sex with someone who is infectious. So if you notice new and unusual rashes, you should avoid sexual contact. At least until you have been checked for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and monkeypox. Remember that the rash can also be found in places that can be hard to see, including the mouth, throat, genitals, vagina, and anus/anal area.
While the monkeypox virus has been found in semen, it is still unknown whether the virus can be spread through semen or vaginal fluids. Hence, you are advised to use condoms for 12 weeks after you recover from monkeypox. Wearing a condom will not protect you from infecting monkeypox, but it will protect you and others from a range of other STIs.
When possible, exchange contact details with any new sexual partners. Even those you were not planning to see again. This way, you can be notified if your partner develops any symptoms, or you can notify them if it happens to you.
People with multiple sexual partners are encouraged to take steps to reduce their risk of being exposed to monkeypox. You can do this by avoiding close contact with anyone who has symptoms. Reducing your number of sexual partners will reduce your risk.
Is There Any Link Between COVID-19 And Monkeypox?
How To Manage Long Covid Symptoms
Presently not much is known about whether having COVID-19 or long COVID-19 makes you more vulnerable to monkeypox. Further studies are still needed on patients who have or have had an infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 or long COVID-19 and now have monkeypox.
But if you currently have COVID-19, follow WHO guidance. Avoid contact with others to prevent infecting them. Also, monitor your symptoms to enable you to get appropriate care. If you think you have long COVID, get the support you need from healthcare workers.
Monkeypox is not as contagious as some other infections because it requires close contact with someone who has monkeypox. Therefore there is a chance to control this outbreak. This can be achieved by working together closely with community groups at higher risk of infection to stop transmission. Likewise raising awareness about how to prevent and treat monkeypox will help to stop further transmission.
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