COVID-19 and all its variants share the spotlight with another undesirable virus —monkeypox. This contagious disease, similar to the variola virus, has flu-like symptoms with a twist. It also causes a rash. “In its viremic phase, it affects layers of skin causing inflammation and necrosis,” Ramprasad Gopalan, MD, an infectious disease specialist, tells Allure.
“Monkeypox is not as contagious as the virus that causes COVID-19,” Dr. Gopalan says. “Therefore, you are not likely to get it by being near someone unless you have direct contact with their skin or are face-to-face for an extended period of time.”
How do people get infected with monkeypox?
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), it spreads through direct contact with the rash, prolonged face-to-face contact, or bodily fluids.
How to know if it is a monkeypox rash?
As reported by the publication, the outbreak begins like pink or red dots that continue to change over time. “First, the rash appears as small red dots, then develops into bumps, followed by water blisters, and then ultimately pea-sized hard nodules before crusting, scabbing, and eventually falling off,” Jeffrey Hsu, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, explains the outlet.
“Unlike bug bites, hives, or pimples, monkeypox eruption is typically preceded by non-specific prodromes such as fever, chills, headache, fatigue, sore throat, myalgia, and swollen lymph nodes,” Dr. Hsu says. Dr. Hsu recommends seeking medical attention to receive a formal diagnosis.
“If you were exposed to monkeypox, you will need to monitor yourself for symptoms for 21 days,” Dr. Gopalan says. “You should then call your doctor or nurse if you notice any symptoms such as fever, swollen lymph nodes, or any rash or sores.”
How do you take care of your skin when you have a rash?
Morgana Colombo, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, told the publication that people with monkeypox should get tested before trying to cure the rashes. “You should not attempt to care for the lesions at home without being seen by a physician and getting tested first,” she explains.
After a physician confirms a diagnosis of monkeypox, people may be prescribed antiviral medication. Dr. Colombo says you should avoid taking oral or topical steroids. “These can weaken your immune system and aggravate an outbreak,” she explains.
While quarantining, she suggests letting the rash breathe and only cover while in public and visiting the doctor.
What other skin products and things are a big no?
People should not do chemical exfoliants and pick at the lesions. “Try not to pick at lesions because that can lead to worse scars, and avoid contact with others until all lesions have crusted over,” she explains.
“Skin lesions are highly contagious, so do not those touch scabs and lesions,” Dr. Gopalan says. However, “In a patient already infected by monkeypox, touching a scab or lesion and then touching another part of the body will not necessarily result in new lesions since the disease is systemic.”
Will people with monkeypox end with blemishes or dark spots?
“In most cases, patients recover completely,” Dr. Hsu says. “Although some cases have resulted in scarring.”