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Monkeypox: Symptoms & Prevention

Monkeypox virus gives rise to the rare disease monkeypox. That, in turn, causes flu-like fever and chills and a painful, pus-filled rash. It may take weeks to clear up on its own because there is no quick-fix treatment. 

What is the Monkey Pox Virus?

There are two types of the monkeypox virus originating in regions of West and Central Africa.

It is a rare disease. But there is a worrying increase in the number of cases in Africa. It is also in regions where the infections have not occurred before. 

In 2022, the global outbreak of the milder West African strain – following hot on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic – saw conditions in Europe, the Americas, and Australia.

Who Gets It?

Previously, the cases recorded in Africa were mostly among children under 15 years old. Elsewhere, the disease was common in mano-a-mano sexual relations. But anyone can get the disease.

Monkeypox is spread via rats and not monkeys. So, it is unlikely that monkeypox will be an emerging pandemic threat because of its rarity. 

Many studies still need to be done to determine the spread among humans. That, at the moment, occurs through intimate contact such as kissing, cuddling, and sex. 

Another person-to-person transmission is through exposure to:

  • Sores
  • Respiratory droplets.
  • Sputum.

Animal-to-person occurs if an animal infected with the virus bites or scratches you. Then the transmission occurs through broken skin. It also spreads when a person comes in contact with the animal’s blood, bodily fluids, or pox sores. 

Infection can also occur via contact with contaminated bedding, towels, or clothing. 


Monkey Pox symptoms


Once you have been exposed to the virus, it may take days or weeks before symptoms appear.

These symptoms are: 

  • Chills and fever
  • Muscle aches and headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • And finally, a painful rash develops. It starts as flat, red bumps that turn into pus-filled blisters. Over the days or weeks, the blisters form a crust and fall off. 
  • In extreme instances, sores may occur in the mouth, vagina, or anus. 

But, in 2022, not everyone presented with the usual order of symptoms. Some sufferers only show a few lesions, milder fever, and no swollen lymph nodes. 

Some people were unaware that they were infected. They did not show signs of infection and were spreaders of the virus.

According to NHS.UK, you should seek emergency medical treatment if you have:

  • Difficulty breathing and terrible and worsening chest pain
  • A stiff neck
  • Brain fog, incapable of thinking clearly, and are disoriented
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Problems with speech and movement
  • Seizures. 

When it comes to diagnoses, the presence of swollen lymph nodes signals monkeypox. Health care providers will take a swab sample from a lesion. They may, in extreme cases, take blood samples for testing. 

The monkeypox rash appears on the face first. Then it appears on the hands or feet. It spreads to the rest of the body, explains Mayoclinic. About 1 to 4 days after you begin having a fever, a skin rash starts and goes through many stages. 

Flat spots turn into blisters. Then the blisters fill with pus, scab over and fall off over 2 to 4 weeks.


Monkey Pox Treatment


Most people heal on their own. But over-the-counter treatments that can ease suffering and discomfort include: 

  • Pain relievers and fever reducers such as medicines ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Oatmeal baths relieve the itchiness from the rashes. 
  • Isolation away from people and pets, especially rodents. That prevents the spreading of infection until all the sores have scabbed.
  • Stay home, get some rest, drinks lots of fluids, and wear a mask around others.
  • Cover all the lesions with cause or bandages to avoid infection.


Monkey Pox Prevention


In some cases, the smallpox vaccine is being used as protection against monkeypox. But these are limited to clinical trials. Avoiding contact with humans and decreasing contact with infected animals are the primary means of preventing the spread of monkeypox. 

Other preventative measures are: 

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water and sanitise
  • Wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth around others
  • Cook food that contains animal by-products well
  • Avoid contact with infected sick or dead animals
  • Avoid contact with people infected with the virus and don’t touch their belongings that may be contaminated with the virus
  • Clean and disinfect household or frequently used surfaces

In conclusion, it takes monkeypox infection between two to four weeks to run its course. 

If you think you may have contracted the virus, contact your doctor immediately. Having Affinity Health Medical Insurance can make treatments and follow-ups more affordable, removing the stress of getting proper medical care and medicine.

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