Last week, the Biden administration declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency. According to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 8,900 cases of monkeypox have been reported in the United States as of this writing, and the numbers are rising.
Experts’ understanding of this monkeypox outbreak, including how the virus spread widely, is evolving, but if you’ve been on social media in recent weeks — especially on TikTok — — You may have heard a common plea: Be extra careful at thrift stores. According to the CDC, these concerns may have risen because monkeypox can be transmitted through direct contact with objects, including fabrics, contaminated with monkeypox virus.
But how effective are these warnings? From what experts know so far, it’s “very, very unlikely” to spread monkeypox through activities such as buying clothing, whether those items are considered old or new, says Peter Chin-Hong, MD, professor of medicine in infectious diseases at the University of California, San Francisco. Um, tell SELF. “It’s very difficult to get monkeypox through clothing, except in a home environment where there is a lot of exposure,” said Dr. Chin-Hong. (In this case, uninfected individuals would be at higher risk if they lived with or cared for someone with a confirmed monkeypox case.)
In this particular home setting In addition, a person is exposed to a piece of clothing for extended periods of time, which in turn is exposed to monkeypox lesions or sores for extended periods of time and thus is at high risk of infection from clothing – for example, if you rub you along contaminated fabrics Your skin until you go through these microscopic cuts through which the virus can enter your body, explains Dr. Chin-Hong.
The concept of “risk level” is familiar to many of us by now, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic (remember when we were all doing our groceries?). As Dr. Chin-Hong explained, any form of shopping that experts currently understand — including frugal clothing — is very low on the risk scale for monkeypox transmission. Instead, the activities with the highest risk of causing the current outbreak are those that involve close, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with an active infected person, such as kissing an infected person. While the CDC also stated that “contact with objects, fabrics and surfaces used by monkeypox patients” is a potential mode of transmission, Dr. Chin-Hong emphasized surface transmission , such as touching a doorknob, is less likely to cause infection.
The CDC also states that monkeypox appears to be susceptible to household cleaners, so current advice is that if you’re living with someone with an active case, be careful about surfaces Disinfect and separate clothing and sheets until the sick person is fully recovered and no longer infectious.
Of course, our understanding of the virus will change rapidly as the outbreak expands. If you are in a high-risk group, the best way to protect yourself is to get the monkeypox vaccine if eligible. Otherwise, all the precautions you’ve taken over the past few years will go a long way toward reducing your risk of getting sick from anything. Follow local guidelines based on monkeypox transmission rates in your area; if you develop any potentially related symptoms, including a rash or flu-like illness, the CDC says you should isolate yourself from others and contact medical care if possible Health Provider – Be sure to call the person before you show up so the location can take appropriate precautions.
In the meantime, you shouldn’t be stressful about shopping as usual – this should include diligently washing or sanitizing your hands, keeping your hands away from your face, and before wearing them out Throw any clothes in the washing machine.
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