MPX (Monkeypox)

Really?

Yes, really. More than two years after declaring COVID an international health emergency, The World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared yet another emerging health threat in MPX. This declaration was followed by the U.S. declaring it a national public health emergency in early August. Regardless of how COVID has impacted you or your family, the entire world has been suffering its effects for 2 ½ years, and now, another public health crisis. It almost seems as though we’re living in some kind of surreal, apocalyptic melodrama.

Symptoms of MPX

Part of the smallpox family, MPX has notable symptoms:

  • Visible lesions that look like pimples or blisters
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headache
  • Flu-like symptoms

Like smallpox, lesions can appear anywhere on the body, but in this variation of the orthopoxvirus group, lesions can seem to appear in the genital area or anus in addition to other parts of the body.

How it’s Spread

MPX is contagious. Contrary to initial reports, it isn’t spread only through sexual contact between men. MPX can be contracted through:

  • Respiratory droplets from an infected person
  • Exposure to those droplets for more than four hours
  • Direct contact with a person who has active lesions or scabs
  • Contact with the bodily fluids of a person who has active lesions, including with their clothing or bedding
  • Sexual contact with an infected person

Treatments

Primary treatments for MPX are aimed at relieving individual symptoms, including pain management. Staying hydrated is very important, as is isolating from people and pets. You will need to stay in a room separate from your family, roommates, and pets while you are symptomatic and have visible, unhealed lesions or scabs. In some cases, your medical provider may prescribe an antiviral used to treat smallpox, but that will depend on your provider’s recommendation and your health.

Dealing with Isolation

The isolation. It’s like déjà vu all over again. We just did this with COVID. Please know that it’s necessary to stop MPX from spreading. Here are some ways to help you cope with isolation if you need to:

  • Use social media sparingly
  •  Don’t inundate yourself with news and/or media, especially about MPX
  •  Engage via FaceTime, telephone, or text with friends and loved ones
  • Color
  • Meditate
  • Journal
  • Read
  • Enjoy a current hobby or begin a new one
  • Do yoga using YouTube videos as a guide
  • Engage in another form of gentle exercise in your room
  • Watch all those shows you’ve been meaning to

Seek Professional Support

Those suggestions can be helpful for managing the stress and anxiety of isolation. If you need additional support, virtual therapeutic treatment services are available from Jason Meisel, NP, and Stephanie Owusu, PMHNP, who provide services in New York state, New York City (Park Slope, Brooklyn area), New Jersey, and Connecticut.

At Meisel NP Psychiatry, our treatment focuses on what works most effectively for you as an individual, whether that’s medication, individual, or group therapeutic support sessions. We strive to provide compassionate, comprehensive care, and we are a safe, affirming space for the LGBTQIA+ community. Contact us at 740-777-6184 or info@meiselpsychnp.com for support during and after a period of isolation.

Disclaimer: The information contained here was not written by a medical doctor and is intended for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for medical advice.

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