Monkeypox: The chronology of its symptoms and more

Monkeypox has been the talk of the town recently. The news about the virus is spreading faster than the virus itself. This has led to the creation of misunderstandings about the virus, its symptoms, and everything else. You will have many questions like, is it dangerous? Should I see a doctor? When should I see a doctor and many more? If you wanna know the basics of monkeypox and its origin, you can read our article on all you need to know about monkeypox. In this article, we are gonna guide you on how the symptoms of this virus progress and how it spreads.

The chronology of its symptoms

Monkeypox usually has an incubation period of around 7 to 14 days. The incubation period is the time it takes for an infected person to show symptoms of the infection. The incubation period can also range from 5 to 21 days.

The signs begin in this order:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

Within 1-3 days of the first sign of fever, the patient starts developing rashes which usually start at the face but then spreads throughout the body. The lesions are formed in the following stages:

  • Macules
  • Papules
  • Vesicles
  • Pustules
  • Scabs

The lesions fall off after the last stage. The monkeypox virus lasts for 2-4 weeks at most. The death rate of the virus is on the lower end with only 1 in 10 persons affected with this virus in Africa having died so far.

When should you contact your doctor?

You should talk to your healthcare professional when you start getting rashes after a high fever (usually above 38.5o C or 102o F), or when you’ve been in close contact with a suspected or confirmed case of monkeypox, or have been in close contact with someone who has recently travelled to Africa or if you have been to Africa.

The transmission of Monkeypox

The monkeypox virus transmits to any person when they come in contact with any animal, person, or any other material which houses the virus. The virus can enter your body through cuts, respiratory tracts, eyes, nose, or mouth. 

Animal-to-human transmission can occur through animal bites or scratches, consuming the meat of an infected animal, or contact with the body fluid of an infected animal.

Human-to-human transmission occurs through close contact with another infected person or using any object used by an infected person, like clothes. Getting in contact with the body fluid of an infected person can also transmit the virus. So far, sexual intercourse has not been deemed to be a transmitter of the virus but the close proximity that happens during intercourse can be an agent for the transmission of the virus.

Prevention of Monkeypox

Numerous ways exist to prevent a person from monkeypox. Some of them are:

  • Isolate any person showing early signs of the virus.
  • Maintain a hygienic environment around you and especially when you live in the vicinity of an infected person.
  • Avoid animals who are at risk of being infected.
  • Wash your clothes properly as the monkeypox virus can be killed with a standard washing machine with warm water and detergent
  • Avoid meat-related food items.
  • The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is recommended when caring for any infected persons.

Forms of Monkeypox

There are only two types of monkeypox virus. They are known as  Central African and West African. The Central African monkeypox virus is more dangerous and hence is more likely to cause death or serious illness. The West African Monkeypox virus is milder in comparison.

Treatment of Monkeypox

The Monkeypox virus usually cures on its own with mild antibiotics and does not require the assistance of a healthcare professional. But there are few people  who must seek the help of a medical professional if they show signs of the virus. These people are:

  • Persons already suffering from severe diseases that can hospitalisation(e.g., hemorrhagic disease, confluent lesions, sepsis, encephalitis, etc.)
  • Persons who are at high risk for a severe disease 
  • Persons with weak immune systems
  • Children, especially kids under the age of 8 years.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women.
  • Persons with one or more complications.

Also, if the virus does not subsist within 4 weeks or your condition gets too severe to manage, contact your healthcare professional immediately. 

It is also recommended to contact your healthcare professional as soon as the symptoms start as they will be the best guide on what you can do at that point in time.

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