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Monkeypox explained: How to protect yourself and what to watch out for

July 25, 2022

The World Health Organization has declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emeergency of international concern, but it's not a disease that the general public has been familiar with.

 

 

For well over a decade, members of the scientific community have been concerned about the potential of a monkeypox epidemic.

 

With nearly 16,000 reported cases worldwide and counting, here's what you need to know about monkeypox, how to protect yourself and what to do if you think you have it.

 

The WHO is advising people to isolate themselves for three weeks from the time they believe they may have been exposed and to limit contact with others while awaiting test results.

 

Your health care provider will explain what to do should you test positive for monkeypox. According to the WHO, the virus should run its course, and symptoms should clear up on their own in two to four weeks without the need for treatment.

 

If you're experiencing the tell-tale symptoms, here are some tips from the WHO:

 

  • Avoid scratching your skin
  • Keep the skin dry and uncovered
  • Clean the skin with sterilized water or antiseptics
  • Take a warm bath with baking soda or Epsom salts for lesions on the body
  • For lesions in the mouth, use a saltwater rinse like you would for canker sores

 

If you live in a shared household, isolate in your room and if possible, use a designated bathroom. Use separate eating utensils, towels and electronics, and do your own laundry. Open your windows whenever possible for good ventilation, but avoid sweeping and vacuuming, which could disturb virus particles found on the floors and lead to further infections.