The Monkeypox Outbreak: 5 Simple Ways to Protect Yourself

The number of monkeypox cases is on the rise both in the U.S. and around the world. As of July 18, the CDC has confirmed over 1,400 monkeypox infections across the country. Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus, which is in the same family as smallpox but is considered less contagious and causes mild symptoms. Monkeypox isn’t usually fatal, and patients typically recover within two to four weeks.

Of course, it’s important to make sure you and your loved ones are doing what they can to help prevent the spread of monkeypox. Here are a few key ways you can help to keep the spread of this virus under control.

1. Wash Your Hands Frequently

One of the easiest ways to stop the spread of bacteria and viruses is by washing your hands frequently. You should wash your hands before and after you’ve used the restroom and throughout the day because of how often you come into contact with frequently-touched surfaces such as doorknobs, handles, drinking fountains, etc. Washing your hands helps to eliminate any viruses that may be traveling on your hands.

2. Avoid Close Contact With Anyone That May Have a Monkeypox Rash

If someone you know has a monkeypox rash, it’s important to avoid making contact with them. This includes hugging, putting your arms around them, or shaking their hand. This is because monkeypox is spread through direct contact with sores or body fluids. If your loved one has monkeypox, they ought to be quarantined to the best of their ability. Don’t come into contact with their clothes or sheets and wash your hands immediately if you do.

3. Don’t Share Cups or Eating Untensils

Because monkeypox can spread through body fluids, it’s important not to share cups or eating utensils with other people, especially those who may have the monkeypox virus. While we may be used to sharing drinks and food with friends and family, the virus can spread through an infected person’s saliva and so it’s best not to share.

4. Get Vaccinated

The good news is that there’s already a monkeypox vaccine available. If you’re insured or are one of the 62.6 million Americans enrolled in Medicare as of 2020, be sure to talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated. You may also be able to make a vaccine appointment at your local pharmacy. Vaccination is a great way to ensure any symptoms you may experience should you become infected with monkeypox are mild.

5. Talk to Your Doctor

Your doctor may be able to help come up with a plan for you related to how you will handle the illness if you are unfortunate enough to contract it or worry that you might. This is especially a good idea if you’re immunocompromised or have a pre-existing condition. You should try to come up with a plan with the help of your doctor to help minimize your chances of getting the virus in the first place.

If you suspect that you may have the monkeypox virus, be sure to reach out to your doctor for the next step. Up to 70% of medical decisions depend on lab results, and you may need a blood test to determine whether you have the virus. If you don’t yet have a doctor, consider making an appointment with a PCP. DOs make up approximately 11% of the physician population, so you should be able to find a PCP in your area.

It’s understandable to be anxious about the monkeypox outbreak after what we’ve experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, monkeypox isn’t a new virus and we currently have vaccines available and treatment options to help keep the spread of the virus under control. By following the tips above, you can help keep yourself and your family safe.


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