Monkeypox: What Are the Risk Factors and How Can You Protect Yourself?

The monkeypox virus is similar to the smallpox virus. Although it is less infectious and harmful than smallpox, it has become a public health concern because it spreads through infected people, animals, and contaminated materials. Here are all the facts you need to know about how the disease spreads, its risk factors, and what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones in the current outbreak.

Who are at risk of developing monkeypox?

  • The most vulnerable groups of people are those who often interact with potentially infected animals or those who live with or have close contact (including sexual contact) with a person who has monkeypox.
  • Health professionals who take care of infected patients are at risk.
  • Moreover, newborns, young children, and people with underlying immune weaknesses may experience more severe symptoms.

How is monkeypox transmitted from one person to another?

  • The disease can spread through close contacts such as face-to-face, skin-to-skin, mouth-to-mouth, mouth-to-skin or sexual contact.
  • When an infected individual touches items- like clothing, bedding, towels, and electronics, the touched surface becomes contaminated. If someone else uses the same contaminated items, they can get infected.
  • The virus can also pass from a new mother to the newborn after birth through skin-to-skin contact or from a parent who has monkeypox to an infant or child during close contact.

How is monkeypox spread from animals to people?

In most cases, primates like monkeys and rodents like rats can act as animal hosts. If a person comes in contact with an infected animal or their body fluids or undercooked meat, they are at risk of developing monkeypox.

How can you protect me and others against monkeypox?

  • Avoid direct contact with infected people and stay away from host animals to reduce the risk of catching monkeypox.
  • Sanitize and disinfect any areas that may have been contaminated by an infected person.
  • Do not share beddings, clothing, etc. with an infected person keep the linens separate and wash them regularly.
  • Keep yourself aware of the occurrence of monkeypox in your community.
  • Be open and honest about any symptoms you are experiencing with anyone you come into close contact with.
  • If you have a confirmed case of monkeypox, you should isolate yourself from others until all of your lesions have crusted over, the scabs have come off, and a new layer of skin has formed below.

What should you do if you experience symptoms of monkeypox or if you have been around someone who has monkeypox?

  • As much as possible, avoid having close personal interactions with others, but if it’s unavoidable, ask them whether they have been exposed to monkeypox.
  • Consult your health professional for medical guidance regarding preventive measures and treatment options.
  • If you have been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox or visited a location where new cases have been reported, you should keep a check on symptoms for 21 days following your last exposure.
  • If you test positive for monkeypox, your doctor will guide you regarding how to treat the infection and whether you should isolate yourself at home or in a hospital after analyzing the severity of your symptoms.

What protective measures should you take in case of home isolation?

  • If staying home alone is advised, you shouldn’t leave the house and ensure that everyone else in the room wears surgical masks and maintain a minimum distance of one meter. Preferably, you should isolate yourself in a different room.
  • Use separate dishes, linens, towels, electronics, and even the restroom.
  • Avoid sweeping or vacuuming because it might disturb virus particles and spread the infection to others.
  • Open windows to allow for adequate airflow.
  • Encourage everyone at home to routinely wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your rash with clothing or bandages.

Can monkeypox cause serious illness in humans?

Monkeypox symptoms typically disappear on their own in a few weeks. In some cases, it can cause more severe symptoms in newborns, children, and adults with underlying immune weaknesses. It can lead to secondary skin infections, pneumonia, disorientation, and eye disorders. The infection can sometimes lead to health complications or even death. Nonetheless, it is significant to remember that these complications are extremely rare.

With the rise in the number of monkeypox cases, it has become essential to understand how it spreads, its risk factors, and what you can do to protect yourself. If you think you may have been exposed to the virus, you should get immediate medical assistance and let the doctor know you may have been exposed. It is a good idea to consult a doctor even if you are unsure whether you were exposed to the virus. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, they may conduct a monkeypox test and recommend the best course of therapy.

If you experience any symptoms related to monkeypox, don’t delay consulting your doctor. Receiving the proper medical treatment and care is the only way to steer clear of any related medical complications. To book an appointment, contact us at +91-9540 114 114.

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SSB Heart and Multispecialty Hospital