Another public health emergency is upon us (enter long sigh here.) Monkeypox is now a grueling reality and it won’t be leaving any time soon.
Living in a pandemic, which remains in place to this day, plays a role in how society reacts to health-related dangers. The initial panic of early 2020 feels like yesterday’s memory. Who remembers when people flocked to the stores to overhaul their toilet paper? Though that behavior was odd, to say the least, being pushed into a state of uncertainty led people to develop habits – as a collective – never before seen. From excessively washing your hands to social distancing, it was a phenomenon that will be remembered for years to come.
Though social distancing is not the norm anymore, habits that were not common during pre-pandemic times linger. I swear, my hands will fall off one day from how much I wash and sanitize them.
So, what does this mean now that monkeypox is swiftly making its rounds?
Will There Be a Change in Working Out or Shopping?
Being that sweat is a big factor in the transmission of monkeypox, it only makes sense to assume shopping and fitness centers might see a shift. Hopefully, it’s not too much of a shift though.
A frequent gym-goer from Miami, Florida, 29, who chose to remain anonymous, said that he’s concerned about the risk of getting infected at his local fitness center.
“It is my understanding that if someone infected has a blister and it bursts and they touch a surface and then you touch it, you can get infected too,” he said when asked if he thought about monkeypox when he visited the gym.
He is not wrong. Monkeypox is easily transmissible and can be spread to anyone through close, personal, and often skin-to-skin contact.
“So, can you imagine the risk at a gym where you are using the same equipment that hundreds of people use every day?” he added.
On social media, others have expressed how shopping is, once again, going to become uncomfortable.
We’ve been down this path before. When the pandemic was first announced, stores, gyms, restaurants, schools – and any location outside of the safety of our homes – felt like a hazard to our health.
How Can You Stay Protected?
Precautions can be taken.
Whether you’re browsing for your Bad Bunny concert outfit at your favorite store or you’re choosing your weights for the next set at the gym, be mindful of what you can do to stay safe. The CDC, for example, recommends you wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after any outdoor activity – and, of course, after using the bathroom.
Though it goes without saying, avoiding close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox is a must. You can never be too sure. Keep in mind not to touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox. Kissing, hugging, cuddling, or having sex with someone with monkeypox is off limits too. Note: Anyone can contract monkeypox, not just gay people.
Let’s not make the same mistake from the 1980s when people thought HIV and AIDS were only linked to the LGBTQ+ community. It’s ignorant and it’s wrong.
Should you know someone near you had or has monkeypox, you’ll want to avoid contact with the objects and materials they use. Do not share their eating utensils or cups; do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
There’s also a vaccine you can get for further protection. Please consult your doctor or local pharmacist beforehand.
Many people are noticing the parallels between the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of the monkeypox cases. However, it is still too early to jump to any conclusions. As for now, try to stay as safe as possible.