HONOLULU (KHON2) — So far, there are five confirmed monkeypox cases in Hawaii. The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) on Friday announced one additional probable case and said they identified connections between all six people.
Monkeypox is a rare disease that can be spread through direct contact with body fluids and even items used by someone with monkeypox. The CDC this month released guidance on how people can lower their risk if they find themselves in social and intimate situations, from going to festivals to having sex.
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The CDC says festivals, events and concerts where attendees are fully clothed are safer versus going to a rave, party or club where there’s more direct and personal contact. Be mindful of kissing, which can spread monkeypox, and avoid any rashes or sores you see on others.
“Enclosed spaces, such as back rooms, saunas, or sex clubs, where there is minimal or no clothing and where intimate sexual contact occurs have a higher likelihood of spreading monkeypox,” the CDC said.
The CDC goes even further with its guidance when it comes to sex. They advise you to talk to your partner about any recent illnesses and be aware of new sores or rashes on their body. If it’s confirmed you or your partner has monkeypox, don’t have sex. Don’t kiss or touch each other’s bodies, and don’t share things like towels and toothbrushes.
And if you think you or your partner might have monkeypox and still decide to have sex, the CDC considers doing the following to reduce the chance of spreading the virus:
- Have virtual sex with no in-person contact.
- Masturbate together at a distance of at least 6 feet, without touching each other and without touching any rash or sores.
- Consider having sex with your clothes on or covering areas where rash or sores are present, reducing as much skin-to-skin contact as possible.
- Avoid kissing.
- Remember to wash your hands, fetish gear, sex toys and any fabrics (bedding, towels, clothing) after having sex
- Limit your number of partners to avoid opportunities for monkeypox to spread.
The DOH says the risk to most Hawaii residents remains low. But look out for these symptoms:
- Monkeypox symptoms usually start 1-2 weeks of exposure to the virus.
- The first symptoms might be like the flu, such as fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, or exhaustion.
- Within 1-3 days of these symptoms beginning, people develop a rash or sores.
- The rash or sores may be located on or near the genitals or anus but could also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, or face.
- The sores will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
- The sores can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.
- Sores may be inside the body, including the mouth, vagina, or anus.
- You may experience all or only a few of these symptoms. Most people with monkeypox will get the rash or sores. Some people have reported developing the rash or sores before (or without) the flu-like symptoms.
- Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until all sores, including scabs, have healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness can last 2-4 weeks.
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