As the school year begins, students must take precautions to safeguard themselves from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the monkeypox disease spreading across the country.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, Leon County recorded its first case of monkeypox in July. William Hatfield, the Democrat’s editor, reported that cases remain relatively low in the county.
“While the case is the first recorded in Florida’s Big Bend, there are cases of monkeypox in 48 states, Washington D.C and Puerto Rico,” he reported.
In light of a few monkeypox cases in Leon County and around the country, Florida A&M Student Health Services recommends that students protect themselves against coronavirus and monkeypox. There have been no monkeypox-related deaths in Tallahassee so far, and the population’s risk of monkeypox remains minimal, according to officials.
Monkeypox has been deemed a national public health emergency, and FAMU asks all students to take the required steps to avoid exposure.
According to cdc.gov, monkeypox is an uncommon illness caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox commonly causes a rash on the genitals or other body parts, such as the hands, feet, chest, face or mouth.
“Condoms do not protect against monkeypox because it is not a sexually transmitted illness,” according to the CDC. “Everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, can contract it.”
As it pertains to coronavirus instances, the symptoms of monkeypox are similar. Fever, chills, swelling lymph nodes, tiredness, headaches and respiratory problems are among the symptoms. From the time symptoms appear until the rash heals completely, the virus is contagious. This process can take up to two to four weeks.
Derek Cogdell, a fourth-year business administration major at FAMU, is concerned about the steps FAMU has put in place to prevent monkeypox and the present the coronavirus epidemic from affecting students.
“Since the start of the school year, I have not seen many precautions put in place to ensure the safety of students,” Cogdell said. “Most of the people in my classes do not wear masks even though the pandemic is around. We have confirmed monkeypox cases in Leon County, and not much has changed on campus to keep us safe.”
Students and others should avoid close skin-to-skin contact with persons with a rash or other COVID-like symptoms to protect themselves from monkeypox. Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid using utensils or cups with someone who has monkeypox. Handling or touching a person with the disease’s bedding, towels or clothing should also be avoided.
If a student catches the disease, they should immediately notify FAMU Student Health Services and their local health department and self-isolate, preferably in a separate room away from other people and pets.
Up-to-date information on monkeypox and COVID-19 is available at FloridaHealth.gov.