These Pictures of Monkeypox on Skin May Help You Identify Rashes or Lesions

The CDC is urging anyone who has signs or symptoms of monkeypox—especially “a new, unexplained skin rash or lesions”—to contact their healthcare provider.

By Julia Landwehr Monkeypox Pictures on Skin: How to Identify Rashes, Lesions (health.com)

Up until a few months ago, most people in the U.S. had never heard of monkeypox, let alone how to identify it. But, as case counts continue to rise, knowing how the illness can present on the skin can help point you to a diagnosis—or quell unnecessary fears.

According to the most recent data, there have been more than 9,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the U.S.; worldwide, the numbers top 31,000 cases across 89 countries—most of which have not historically reported monkeypox cases.

And the influx of cases has many people worrying about any lump or bump that appears on their skin. “You loved playing ‘Allergies or COVID?’ Now get ready for ‘Mosquito Bite or Monkeypox!'” read one viral tweet.

To help clear up some uncertainty about the illness, health agencies—including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS)—have shared pictures to distinguish monkeypox lesions at any stage of the disease. Here’s what to know.

What Do Monkeypox Lesions Look Like?

The monkeypox virus is a type of orthopoxvirus. Although monkeypox is related to smallpox—caused by the variola virus—it’s much milder and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Neither monkeypox or smallpox is related to chickenpox, which is caused by the varicella-zoster virus.

Diseases caused by poxviruses usually cause lesions, skin nodules, or rashes to form on the skin.

In monkeypox specifically, the lesions can morph or change throughout the course of a person’s infection. While flu-like symptoms typically hit first, a person will go on to develop sores that go through five distinct stages, according to Thomas Russo, MD professor and chief of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Buffalo.

Macules

Discolored portions of the skin that are flat—called macules—are often the first stage of a monkeypox lesion. Before this stage, sometimes an enanthema, or a rash on the tongue or in the mouth, can form. These macules can last up to two days.

Papules

Next, the macules will begin to raise and turn into papules. This stage can also last up to two days.

Vesicles

One the lesions have turned into papules, they’ll fill with a clear fluid. This signifies the vesicular stage of the monkeypox lesions. It’s at this stage where the lesions resemble blisters. Lesions can stay in the vesicular stage for up to two days.

Pustules

Once the clear fluid inside the vesicles turns opaque, the lesions have reached the pustular stage. “The fluid in the blisters gets cloudy,” Dr. Russo told Health. The pustules are typically round and hard to the touch.

At some point, those pustules will go through umblication, in which “they have a depressed dome on top of them,” said Dr. Russo. This stage can last for five to seven days before the lesions begin to crust over.

Scabs

“Eventually, if unperturbed, these lesions [will] eventually scab over,” said Dr. Russo. “The scabs will eventually fall off.” Scabs can stick around for about a week or up to 14 days before they completely resolve—though some pitting or skin discoloration may stick around.

Once the scab finally falls off, the person is no longer considered contagious, according to Dr. Russo.

Where Do Monkeypox Lesions Typically Occur on the Body?

In addition to showing up in non-endemic countries, the ways in which monkeypox is presenting on the body is also different from what researchers have historically known about the disease.

“The rash that we used to see was basically erupting all at one time, so a person would tend to have lesions that were all at the same stage of disease, in the traditional sense,” Kelly Gebo, MD, MPH professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University told Health. “Currently, we’re seeing people presenting with lesions at various different stages.”

The lesions in this outbreak are showing up in places on the body that are unusual, as well.

“The traditional spots that we saw this—on the face, and then often on the palms and soles—are different,” Dr. Gebo said. “Now we’re seeing people who have them in their genital region, including their mucous membranes, like their rectum, or their mouth.”

The final wild card when it comes to monkeypox lesions in this outbreak is the number of sores that people seem to develop. We’re seeing cases where people just have one or a few lesions, instead of dozens or hundreds, Dr. Russo explained.

Differentiating Between Monkeypox and Other Sores or Bumps

All of this variability—both with how the sores look over the course of the infection and new symptom developments in this outbreak—may make it a bit challenging to correctly identify monkeypox.

Lesions are usually between two and five millimeters, Dr. Gebo said, around the same size as a typical pimple or bug bite. This may partially explain why people online are having trouble differentiating between a rogue pimple and a monkeypox lesion in its papule stage.

There’s also a risk that monkeypox may be misidentified as a different type of sexually transmitted infection, like herpes or syphilis, that may cause similar-looking sores in genital or oral areas.

“If it’s an area like the mouth or if there’s friction in an area, those blisters could break down so they could look like ulcers,” Dr. Russo said.

And, though it’s not very prevalent in the U.S. anymore due to childhood vaccination, monkeypox could be misidentified as another kind of pox-producing illness, like chickenpox, Dr. Gebo added.

Because it can be mistaken for so many other types of other diseases and issues, there are a few helpful questions to ask yourself when determining whether that strange bump is nothing, or the beginning of a monkeypox infection.

“Are you feeling sick? And so do you have a fever? Do you have chills? Do you have night sweats or swelling of the lymph nodes? That would make me think more of a systemic illness as opposed to a bug bite or a pimple, which is generally a very localized skin reaction,” Dr. Gebo said.

The other important thing to keep in mind, Dr. Gebo explained, is whether or not you think you may have been in a situation where you could have been exposed to monkeypox.

Because the disease is primarily spreading among men who have sex with men, if you’re in that community it’s best to err on the side of caution if you believe you may have monkeypox. The same is true, though, for anyone who has had close skin-to-skin contact with other people, whether it’s sexual or not.

However, the only way to be completely confident that what you’re looking at is a pimple, monkeypox lesion, or something else entirely, is to get a test. “Always when in doubt, using objective diagnostic testing is helpful,” said Dr. Russo.

If you suspect you have monkeypox, talk to your healthcare provider about getting tested—they will be able to initiate the process of a diagnosis, which can only be confirmed at some specific laboratories, nationwide. However, you will likely only be able to get tested for monkeypox if you don’t yet have lesions—swabbing a lesion is the only way to test for the illness.

Although testing capacity is limited, Dr. Russo hopes that it will soon expand. “I think the approach we need at this point is to have a low diagnostic threshold,” he said. “Where, if anyone has [any] sort of ulcerative lesions in these areas, [they should get tested].”

Culled from: Monkeypox Pictures on Skin: How to Identify Rashes, Lesions (health.com)

How To Improve Your Recovery From Injury, Illness or Surgery

There are many reasons and factors that affect a person’s ability to heal and recover from an injury, illness or surgery. One of the most common reasons is poor nutrition. The healing tissue along with the body may not be receiving proper base components to actually heal. Poor nutrition can negatively impact how one heals from an injury or illness. Consuming the right foods can provide the proper nutrients for your body to fully heal and recover from an injury, illness or surgery. If you truly want to take all of the steps possible to improve your chance of recovery, then addressing nutritional needs and food quality is a must!
There are two basic reasons why nutrients are not getting to the injured area. There is either a nutrient delivery problem (which includes proper intake) or there is a nutrient absorption problem. This may be affecting your ability to physically recover from injury, illness or surgery.
Whether it’s a delivery or absorption problem, the injured area or tissue isn’t getting adequate nutrition or growth factors to the actual tissue in need. Both nutrient delivery and absorption need to be addressed by reducing or eliminating as many risk factors for each as you can.

Read more here – How To Improve Your Recovery From Injury, Illness or Surgery – Smart Strategies for Successful Living (agegracefullyamerica.com)

The Menace of the Abuse of Antibiotics.

Written by Yusuf Hassan Wada, Public Health Advocate, Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto.

There is an increasing global challenge of antimicrobial resistance, which hitherto has made some antibiotics ineffective for the treatment of infectious diseases, they were specifically designed to fight. Statistics have shown that the use of antibiotics save millions of lives each year by fighting off bacterial infections. They have been the backbone of medicine, yet many of us take them for granted. Achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) won’t be possible without paying close attention to this most pressing global health threat.

The world indeed has moved from a period of inevitable deaths from infections and undiscovered medication for strange infections to self-inflicted deaths from human greed. The consequences of antibiotics abuse helps to accelerate the level and spread of resistant bacteria. Increasing availability of antibiotics has also accelerated this alarming downside: The drugs losing their efficacy to kill the microbes they were created to conquer. Hard-wired to survive, many bacteria have evolved to outsmart the medications.

Drug abuse, especially abuse of codeine and tramadol, is one challenge that have threatens the future of the country. One major issue that is neglected in the fight against drug abuse in Nigeria is increasingly use of antibiotics as a form of contraception, cold and flu, every febrile illness tagged as typhoid, unconfirmed sexual transmitted disease (stds), and for every case of diarrhea with a simple overwhelming level of patronage from clients having no idea of the possible consequences.

In Nigeria, anyone can visit the Proprietary Patent Medicine Vendors (PPMVs), hawkers, small shopkeepers who provide on-the- spot diagnosis and treat anything with buying just a few tablets instead of the full course — not enough to vanquish an infection but enough to allow bacteria to mutate and gain resistance for their complaints ranging diarrhoea, pain, wounds, and at the slightest hint of a cough or cold.

If these people who don’t have a pharmacist’s degree nor a medical training by any means, can be taking advantage of the ignorance of others and doing their unethical business freely, then this signifies state failure, institutional malfunction or breakdown in regulatory and legal frameworks.

Another example is that of diarrhea, which is a viral infection, and would go on its own, but most Nigerians would rather take flagyl or the red and yellow capsule named as ‘system flushers’. What rather presents a precarious picture is the case of using antibiotics especially Ampiclox as a form of contraception or preventing STDs which is very rampant and poses a great danger to the users themselves, and it calls for increase in knowledge and awareness about sexual health.

The aftermath of all these is that an average citizen who is already resistant to common and affordable antibiotics ends up spending more in procuring expensive antibiotics to achieve the same result. Antimicrobial resistance increases the financial burden of healthcare, particularly in health systems where out-of-pocket payments predominate, like Nigeria.

We can’t effectively mitigate the growing problem of antibiotic abuse and resistance without dealing with lax oversight attitude of antibiotic use, non-compliance with prescribed dosage as well as duration of usage of the drug, choatic drug distribution network which calls for strong political

commitment at both national and the entire international community levels to curb the menace. In effect, it is therefore paramount for us to have a good drug distribution system that can guarantee safe, efficacious and affordable medicines across all levels of health care delivery in Nigeria.

Increased awareness and mass education on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), reduction in the excessive use of antimicrobial drugs, surveillance of AMR, placing a ban on the sale of antimicrobial prescription medicines as Over-the-Counter (OTC) drugs, massive changes–in the expectations and actions of patients, physicians, pharmacists, dispensers, the investments of pharmaceutical companies and the oversight of governments.

It is high time also, that physicians and their various associations insist on the use of blood or stool urine culture diagnosis in treating their patients and totally discountenancing Widal test for uniformity of practice.

Government should regulate and closely monitor PPMVs’ practices in order to avert the looming crises that will become inevitable if there are no potent antibiotics.

Thus, towards the World Antibiotic Awareness Week (18-24 November) and beyond, it is imperative for people to learn how to save their money, kidneys and liver. We must create, develop and sustain a distinct way forward and put a permanent stop to the mentality because we are quickly running out of treatment options and if we don’t get a handle on the problem, I fear for the future.

All hands must be on deck towards solving this problem.

Yusuf Hassan Wada is a Public Health Advocate and writes from Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto. He can be reached at hasawa2011@gmail.com