Everything You Need to Know About Monkeypox, Including Where to Get Vaccinated

Image by LuAnn Hunt from Pixabay

Hundreds of people rushed to get vaccinated for monkeypox outside The Phoenix Bar on Elysian Fields Avenue on Tuesday, quickly burning through the offered 500 free doses of the vaccine. So far, there have been 95 cases of monkeypox in Louisiana, with the majority of those coming from the greater New Orleans area.

What is Monkeypox?

According to the Louisiana Department of Health:

“Monkeypox is a potentially serious viral illness that typically involves flu-like symptoms, swelling of the lymph nodes, and a possibly painful rash that includes bumps that are initially filled with fluid before scabbing over.”

Contrary to what some believe, monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection, and it is not exclusive to the LGBT community – in spite of how mainstream media is reporting on the infection.

How Does Monkeypox Spread?

Monkeypox is spread in several different ways, including through direct contact with somone who has the virus. It can also be spread by through contact with clothing, bedding, or other shared items used by a person with monkeypox, our through respiratory droplets. Anyone who is symptomatic can spread the infection to anyone else.

What are the Symptoms of Monkeypox?

Symptoms of monkeypox are similar to the flu, including:

  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Exhaustion
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • A rash that appears similar to pimples or blisters on the face, hands, feet, chest, and other parts of the body

Symptoms usually begin within two weeks of exposure to the virus. The rash usually develops within 1-3 days of other symptoms beginning, though some experience only the rash.

Where to Get Vaccinated

Currently, access to the monkeypox vaccine in the US is extremely limited due to short supply. Therefore, although monkeypox can affect anyone, the vaccine is currently being limited to individuals who have had a known exposure to someone with monkeypox, sex workers, or to LGBT men who have sex with men and who have had intimate or sexual contact with other men in a social or sexual setting in the past 14 days.

Currently the following places in New Orleans are offering the monkeypox vaccine:

  • Crescent Care Health and Wellness Center – 1631 Elysian Fields Ave. Call 504-821-2601 for an appointment.
  • Depaul CHC/Carrollton – 3201 Carrollton Ave. Call 504-207-3060 for an appointment.
  • Ochsner – 1516 Jefferson Hwy. Call 504-842-3000 for an appointment.
  • Tulane University School of Medicine – 1430 Tulane Ave. Call 504-988-6224 for an appointment.
  • UMC – 2000 Canal St. Call 504-702-3000 for an appointment.

It’s very important to remember that although the vaccine is currently limited, anyone can be infected by monkeypox. This illness is not exclusive to the LGBT community.

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