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Answering Your Questions About Monkeypox

Just as we’re approaching the endemic stages of the COVID pandemic we hear about monkeypox.

There were fewer than 400 cases as of June 29, with 80 of those in California. Out of an overabundance of caution, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is carefully tracking cases and the White House announced its response to the outbreak.

We thought we would provide some answers to frequently answered questions with the help of the CDC. 

What Is It?

Monkeypox is caused by a virus that is part of the same family as smallpox.

Why Is It Called Monkeypox?

It first appeared in the 1950s in a colony of research monkeys. The first human case was in 1970. Most human cases have been limited to countries in central and west Africa.

Can I Die from Monkeypox?

It is rarely fatal. More than 99% of those who get it survive. The danger is for children under 8 years old, people with a compromised immune system, a history of eczema, or people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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What Are the Symptoms?

They can include:

  • A rash that looks like pimples or blisters lasting two to four weeks.
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes

How Does It Spread?

It doesn’t spread easily. It requires direct contact with the rash, scabs, or body fluids, or items that touched the infectious rash or body fluids. It can also spread through sex or intimate contact. Close contact with an infected person can cause the virus to spread.

When Do Symptoms Occur?

It usually takes at least two weeks for symptoms to appear. A person is not contagious until they have symptoms.

Is It Treatable?

While there is no treatment specific for monkeypox, its similarity to smallpox means the drugs and vaccines used to protect against that disease can treat and prevent monkeypox.

Can I Get a Vaccine?

The CDC is not recommending widespread vaccination. You may need one, however, if you have a weakened immune system or have been exposed to someone with monkeypox. 

AltaMed Is Here for You

AltaMed will keep you informed as the situation changes with monkeypox.

AltaMed can help you answer questions about getting on a healthy regimen. We have registered dieticians to assist with creating a healthier diet for you. We can also help put together an exercise plan, and our Behavioral Health Services can help you with techniques to deal with stress. Learn more by calling (888) 499-9303.

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Here’s the Latest Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters

The FDA has authorized third doses, booster shots, and second booster shots to help you and your family stay protected against the coronavirus. These shots are recommended to maximize protection against the virus and its variants. Now, you may be wondering what is the difference between a third dose, a booster shot, and a second booster shot?

What is a booster shot and who can get it?

If you are fully vaccinated and not immunocompromised, you may eligible for a booster shot. Fully vaccinated is defined as someone who has already received two doses of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine, or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. For the Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine, a booster shot is different dosage than a third dose.

For those who received the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or the Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at five months or more after completing their initial series:
 

  • 12 years and over for Pfizer (Comirnaty) and 18 and over for Moderna (Spikevax)

For those who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, anyone who is 18 and older and who was vaccinated two or more months ago, can receive a booster shot.

Booster shots are most important for people that are 65 and over, those with immune compromising conditions and those that are overweight or have chronic health conditions as these people can suffer more serious COVID-19 disease if they have not gotten all their recommended vaccines including their booster shots.

What is a second booster shot and who can get it?

The CDC now recommends a second booster shot of either the Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) COVID-19 vaccines for the following groups:
 

  • Individuals aged 50 or older
  • Individuals aged 12 and over with moderate to severe immune comprise

The second booster will be available to eligible individuals beginning four months after their first booster. Public Health sites will administer second booster shots to those eligible starting Wednesday, March 30. More information is available here.

What is a third dose and who can get it?

If you received either the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine and are immunocompromised, you need a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine following your initial vaccine series. The third dose is to help people get the same level of protection (or immunity) as people who are not immunocompromised. After you get the third dose, you can get a booster when you are eligible.
 

  • You must have had the first two doses of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine
  • It has been 28 days since your last COVID-19 vaccine
  • You have one of the following conditions:
    • History of solid organ transplant
    • History of bone marrow or stem cell transplant
    • Current cancer or on chemotherapy
    • Untreated or uncontrolled HIV
    • Chronic steroid use for one month or more
    • Use of immune modulating therapies such as Rituximab
    • Kidney disease requiring dialysis
    • Presence of cirrhosis
    • Inherited or acquired immune deficiency syndromes (AIDS)
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Stop the spread

Getting vaccinated remains the most important and effective step to ending the coronavirus pandemic. AltaMed has free vaccine events. You can also contact our vaccine hotline at (888) 909-5232 to schedule your booster COVID-19 shot.

In the meantime, regardless of your vaccination status:
 

  • You need to follow local and state safety guidelines.
  • Wear a face mask when indoors or in crowds to protect yourself and others.
  • Maintain hand hygiene — use hand sanitizer to clean hands frequently, and wash hands for 20 seconds at a time.
  • Wipe down any surfaces you touch.
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Lupul

Lupus: When Your Body Attacks Itself

The body’s immune system is designed to protect the body from infection and other diseases. Sometimes, in rare cases, the immune system is the body’s worst enemy. It’s called lupus.

In May — Lupus Awareness Month — the lupus community works to raise awareness of this chronic condition which affects about 1.5 million Americans. Nearly 90% of those diagnosed are women and the majority of those are African American.

It can be a painful but rarely is it fatal. People with lupus can live a normal lifespan with proper medical care, but so far, there is no cure, it is hard to diagnose, and there is little understanding of its cause.

Lowdown on Lupus

Lupus is a disorder that affects a person’s immune system. It is like rheumatoid arthritis in that way. It affects the joints, but it also affects blood cells, the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, and the skin.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the most common type of lupus and affects many parts of the body. Other types of lupus include:

  • Cutaneous lupus Causes a rash or lesions when exposed to sunlight
  • Drug-induced lupus — Caused by an overreaction to certain medicines but stops when medication is discontinued
  • Neonatal lupus — Inherited by a mother with SLE and usually resolves within six months. It can lead to a heart block requiring a pacemaker.

Lupus Symptoms

Lupus affects everyone differently depending on which body systems are attacked. The symptoms can come on suddenly or develop slowly.

Symptoms are mild for most people with lupus, but they can have “flares” where symptoms get worse for a while.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Dry eyes
  • Facial rash covering the nose and cheeks
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Memory loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin lesions that get worse with sunlight
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Complications

While lupus is rarely deadly, fatality has much to do with the parts of the body affected.
 

  • KidneysLupus in the kidneys can cause serious damage resulting in kidney failure. It is the leading cause of death in lupus patients.
  • Brain and nervous systemThis can lead to dizziness, headaches, behavior changes, seizures, or strokes.
  • Blood and blood vesselsComplications could include anemia and a greater risk of bleeding or blood clots.
  • Lungs Breathing becomes difficult if the chest cavity lining swells. It can also lead to bleeding into the lungs and pneumonia.
  • Heart Cardiovascular disease and heart attacks become more likely with inflammation of the heart muscles or arteries.

Other complications include:
 

  • Infection from the disease and treatments which sometimes weaken the immune system.
  • Cancer risk is increased, though the risk is small.
  • Dead bone tissue which happens when the blood supply to bone declines.
  • Miscarriage potential increases for pregnant women who also face the prospect of high blood pressure.
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Treatments

People with lupus can expect a normal lifespan if the condition does not affect their organs. It is vital they follow the instructions of their physician. This includes taking their medications as prescribed. They must also get help for any unexpected side effects from their medication.

Find Help at AltaMed

Talk to your doctor sooner, rather than later, if you have any of the symptoms mentioned in this blog. Your doctor can suggest treatments to help you cope with the condition. If you don’t already have a doctor, find your nearest AltaMed location and give them a call.

Answering Your Questions About Monkeypox