Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Get Ready Mailbag: What is Monkeypox?

Welcome to another installment of the Get Ready Mailbag, when we take time to answer questions sent our way by readers like you! Have a question you want answered? Send an email to getready@apha.org. 

Q: I live in the U.S. Should I be worried about monkeypox? 

Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regnery,
 courtesy CDC PHIL 

A:
We understand your concern. Monkeypox has been in the news a lot lately. But don’t panic! Knowing what monkeypox is and how to avoid it will help you be prepared. 

Monkeypox is nothing new. It was first discovered in 1958 when monkeys got sick with a rash. The first human case of monkeypox was in 1970. So, why are we hearing so much about it now? That’s because there is a 2022 outbreak of monkeypox. This means the disease was found in countries that normally don’t have it, including the United States

There is no reason to panic, but you should watch out for the disease and use good hygiene to avoid getting sick. 

As of July 12, the U.S. has a total of 929 monkeypox cases. The CDC is frequently updating its map of cases by state. 

Look out for these symptoms of monkeypox and go to the doctor immediately if you have any, especially a rash.  

Symptoms include: 

· Fever 

· Headache 

· Body aches 

· Chills 

· Feeling very tired 

· A rash 

A rash is very common with monkeypox. The rash is usually found on the face, mouth, hands and feet but can be located anywhere on the body. The rash typically looks like pimples, blisters or scabs. It can be itchy or painful. There is treatment available for people who get very sick, but this is rare. Most people get better on their own in 2-4 weeks. 

Monkeypox mostly spreads through skin-to-skin contact, saliva and by touching something an infected person has touched. Monkeypox spreads easily during sexual activity, but it is NOT a sexually transmitted disease. This means that it is not spread through vaginal fluid or semen, but it can spread through contact with skin or saliva which are common during sexual activities. Talk to your partner about any new sicknesses or unexplained rashes or sores. If you or your partner are feeling unwell or have a rash, avoid having sex or do so without saliva or skin-to-skin contact. In general, the best way to prevent getting monkeypox is to not touch a person with the illness or anything they have touched.  Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer, especially after being in public areas, to stay healthy.  

There are vaccines available to prevent monkeypox. The CDC recommends that men who have sex with men, who are currently at a higher risk, and people who have been exposed to monkeypox get vaccinated. It is also highly recommended that all individuals get vaccinated against smallpox. Since smallpox and monkeypox are similar, studies have shown that having the smallpox vaccine lowers your chances of getting monkeypox by 85%. The CDC has more information about vaccinations on its website. 

 


Thursday, June 30, 2022

Celebrating red, white and blue? Here are some safety tips for you

A mom puts sunscreen on a toddler. Both are wearing sunhats and light colored clothing.
By Lostinbids, courtesy iStockphoto
The Fourth of July is almost here! Whether you’re going to see fireworks, spending time with loved ones or just enjoying the sun, it’s important to stay safe in the summer heat. Follow these tips to get ready for summer fun! 

COVID-19

When heading out for the Fourth, remember to bring a mask and hand sanitizer. As people gather to celebrate, crowds will form. COVID-19 spreads easier when a lot of people are close together, especially indoors. Wear a mask and keep your distance to lower your risk of getting sick. Keep in mind that the summer heat can make the mask you’re wearing sweaty or damp. Swap your mask for a new one if this happens. Bring extras and wear your mask over your nose and mouth to avoid the spread COVID-19. 

Summer heat 

While the sunshine is nice, it’s important to drink water and stay cool when outdoors. Apply sunscreen before heading outside to prevent painful sunburns. The FDA recommends using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and reapplying at least every two hours to keep your skin protected. Apply more often if you’re in the water or sweaty. Wear a hat, sunglasses and light-colored clothing to stay cool in the hot sun. Remember to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated. Steer clear of alcohol and caffeine because these will dehydrate you faster. 

Bug bites

Want to avoid itchy, puffy bug bites? Use insect repellent, or “bug spray,” before heading outside, especially in the evening. Look for a spray with DEET in it for the best bug protection. DEET is safe for everyone to use, even if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants will also prevent bites from mosquitos and other bugs. 

Follow these tips to have a safe and fun Fourth of July and summer! You can find more information on staying healthy and safe this summer from Get Ready.