Monkey pox virus infections are rare in people, but they can pose a serious risk to those who are not vaccinated against smallpox or have weaker immune systems.
Monkey pox is closely related to the variola virus that causes smallpox. However, you cannot get the monkey version of this virus from humans. The only way you can get infected is if you come into contact with a sick non-human primate such as a chimp, gorilla or baboon.
If you’re traveling to areas where either version of the poxvirus may be found, it’s important to understand what these viruses are, how you might contract them and how you can protect yourself from contracting either one of them. Read on for more information about what monkey pox and smallpox are and how to protect yourself from both of these dangerous diseases.
How to Avoid the Monkey pox Virus
Monkey pox is a rare disease that was once found primarily in small communities and among isolated groups of people. Today, the virus continues to spread in parts of Africa and Asia where there are limited public health services, low vaccination rates, and poor sanitation.
The virus is most commonly transmitted from animals to humans through infected marks or fleas. It can also be contracted by coming into contact with an infected person’s fluids, such as their blood or sweat, or from touching surfaces that have been contaminated with their fluids. An unvaccinated person might contract the virus after being exposed to someone who has it. If you’re traveling to areas where the risk of contracting this virus is higher than usual, you should take special precautions to avoid contracting it.
These 5 tips will help you reduce your risk of getting monkey pox when you’re traveling or living abroad.
1- Keep Your Hands Clean
The most important thing you can do to avoid contracting the monkey pox virus is to keep your hands clean. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before eating, after using the restroom, and before you go to bed. Clean all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating them, and use a disinfecting spray on any surfaces that could be contaminated, including kitchen utensils and food preparation surfaces. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, as these parts of your body are most susceptible to infection. Furthermore, avoid sharing food, drinks, and eating utensils with people who have open sores on their hands.
2- Stay in Air-conditioned Rooms
The monkey pox virus is highly infectious, and it can be transmitted through the air. If you’re in an area where the virus is common, stay in air-conditioned rooms, which will help keep the virus from spreading. You should also avoid large crowds and places where you’re in close contact with other people, such as public transportation. Avoid touching your face, nose, and mouth when you’re in public to reduce the risk of transferring the virus to your hands and accidentally transferring it to your eyes or mouth later.
3- Be Careful With Food
While it’s important to be clean, it’s also important to be careful with the food you eat. Don’t eat food that isn’t fresh and hasn’t been cooked properly. Don’t eat food off the street, and avoid eating in restaurants that don’t use proper food preparation techniques. Avoid eating foods that have been exposed to animals or that could have come into contact with infected animals. Some common examples of foods to avoid include raw or undercooked meat, unpasteurized dairy products, and fresh fruit that hasn’t been peeled. Avoid drinking water from lakes and rivers, which could have been contaminated by animal feces.
4- Don’t Shake Hands
The monkey pox virus can be transmitted through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids, including their sweat and blood. Avoid shaking hands with people, especially if you know they have the virus. Avoid kissing and hugging people, too, as this type of physical contact could easily spread the virus. Instead, offer a nod, a wave, or a smile to greet people and show them you’re friendly. This type of contact is much less likely to spread the virus than handshakes and hugs are.
5- Use a Mask and Protective Clothing
While you’re in the area where the virus is common, wear a mask to avoid breathing in the virus-infected fluid that’s in the air. You should also wear protective clothing, including long-sleeved shirts and long pants, to avoid coming in contact with the virus. Avoid wearing sandals, which allow the virus to easily penetrate your skin.
Monkey pox is a rare but serious disease. If you’re traveling to an area where the risk of contracting the virus is higher than usual, you should take special precautions to avoid contracting it. Keep your hands clean, avoid eating contaminated food, and avoid contact with infected people. Wash your hands thoroughly, eat fresh food that has been cooked properly, and wear protective clothing to reduce your risk of contracting the monkey pox virus. If you do contract the virus, be sure to seek medical attention as soon as possible. The sooner you begin treatment, the more likely it is that you’ll make a full recovery.