Monkeypox: Early signs to watch out for among kids

Updated on: 25 June 2022, 15:29 pm IST

Monkeypox is endemic in some countries and its cases have been increasing recently. Pay attention to these signs of monkeypox in children.

signs of monkeypox
Don’t take your or your child’s symptoms lightly. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Monkeypox is on the rise in many countries, and it has created a sense of panic around the world. It started spreading in May 2022. The virus has now been detected in over 20 countries where the infection is not endemic. Countries such as the UK, US, France, Italy, and Denmark are a few of the names where it is found. Though the virus has not reached India yet, it is always best to be prepared and take necessary precautions.

In times like these, it is important for parents to understand the early signs of the disease to protect their children. Keep an eye on any changes in your child’s body and be aware of any unexpected symptoms that may appear. Here is everything you need to know about monkeypox and its symptoms in kids.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a viral disease that usually affects animals, but it can also be transmitted to humans, as shown by previous outbreaks. The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970. The disease causes flu-like symptoms as well as painful, itchy sores.

signs of monkeypox
Monkeypox a virus transmitted to humans from animals. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Symptoms of monkeypox

Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms. Fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and weakness are the first symptoms of monkeypox. A rash can appear on the face and genitals in more severe cases, and painful, itchy lesions can appear all over the body. The rash starts off as flat areas that develop into bumps that fill with fluid. As they heal, they become crusty and fall off. People usually feel better in 2 to 4 weeks. However, the virus can sometimes make a person very sick.

Other symptoms of monkeypox in kids include:

  • Discomfort
  • Fever
  • Rashes
  • Exertion
  • Backaches
  • Swollen Lymph nodes
  • Chills

Signs parents should watch out for

1. Rashes

Rashes emerge on the second or third day after the commencement of infection and accompanying symptoms in Monkeypox, and they usually start on the face and extend to the hands, palms, and feet. Most of the rashes are fluid-filled.

signs of monkeypox
Be cautious and keep your children safe. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Fever

The fever in children infected with the Monkeypox virus is higher than in adults. It stays between 101- and 102-degrees Fahrenheit or higher. If you notice these symptoms in your child, seek professional medical care at once.

How does it spread?

Monkeypox can spread by various means in kids. Close contact with sick people or animals can spread the monkeypox virus.

You can get infected if you:

  • Inhale the virus
  • Come in contact with blood, bodily fluids, or blister fluid of an infected person
  • Use contaminated bedding or other objects.

Symptoms can appear anywhere from 5 to 21 days following exposure.

How can children avoid getting the virus?

1. Hand hygiene: Instruct your children to clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer.
2. Contact with animals that can harbour the virus should be avoided (sick animals or dead animals in areas where the virus is found, especially monkeys and rodents)
3. Meat should be completely cooked.
4. Any interaction with an individual who has a rash, or a fever should be avoided.
5. Any fluid or item from a patient should be avoided.

signs of monkeypox
Monkeypox cases are on the rise, so be careful. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What is the treatment?

Depending on the symptoms, the World Health Organization suggests supportive therapy. Those who have been affected are encouraged to isolate themselves as soon as possible.

Skin rashes should be treated with a mild antiseptic and covered with a light covering in case of large lesions. Warm saline gargles should be used to treat oral ulcers.

Conclusion

Monkeypox is a well-understood disease that can be effectively treated with known clinical treatments. The illness is mild, and you will recover in a couple of weeks, but it is important not to spread it to others

In case you detect these symptoms in your kid, you should reach your health care provider as soon as possible for proper treatment.

Dr Anurag Jain Dr Anurag Jain

Dr Anurag Jain, Consultant - Paediatrician and Neonatologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Mechanic Nagar, Indore