FAMU Student Health expert gives insight on how to prepare for and manage Monkeypox

Managing Monkeypox in Leon County
Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 11:47 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2022 at 8:42 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - As Monkeypox cases climb across the nation, medical officials are saying what college students should do to protect themselves ahead of a new school year.

Florida is fourth in the country in confirmed cases with 273, none of which have yet to be found in Leon County.

But, that’s not stopping Florida A&M University’s director of student health from encouraging students to be vigilant.

While experts say that monkeypox is not as contagious as the coronavirus, due to their habits and behaviors, college students may be more susceptible.

“We’re looking more at skin-to-skin contact as a way of contracting monkeypox as opposed to something like an airborne virus like COVID-19,” explained FAMU Director of Student Health Tanya Tatum.

Activities like kissing, sharing food and drink, being intimate with a partner that may have been infected or even laying on unwashed sheets of someone who has the virus could pass it on.

“We always encourage students to get to know the person a little bit before they decide to get too intimate with them because you should know how many partners they’ve had and if they might have been around someone that has been exposed,” Tatum shared.

And because the incubation period could be as long as 21 days, those infected may not know right away.

“You’re not gonna think, ‘Oh I’ve been exposed to monkeypox.’ You’re gonna say ‘I’m tired, I’ve got a headache, I’ve got a fever,’” Tatum broke down. “It’s the same flu-like kind of symptoms you receive.”

And if you find you have any symptoms, Tatum says to take the proper precautions.

“It might be what you think are your normal allergies symptoms but because we’re living through Covid right now you should go get a Covid test. It’s quick, it’s easy and you can rule that out and then you can work out what else it might be.”

Tatum suggests that people be wearier of who they make physical contact with and learn the history of their sexual partners.

WCTV also reached out to Florida State University, which said right now there’s no specific guidance for colleges when it comes to monkeypox, but they are prepared to test for the virus using an outside lab and say they will work with the Leon County Health Department regarding any cases.

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