If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
First, double check to make sure that the employee’s family member has actually tested positive for monkeypox. Sometimes, we’re finding that they have other symptoms or just suspect that they might have it. If they have legitimate monkeypox symptoms, keep any family members or people who have a sexual relationship with them out until the results are back. If they test positive, the person will likely get instructions from the clinic or health department about when they can return to work. In most cases, we’re seeing 14 days right now. If the person hasn’t gotten any info from the health department, keep them out until you get a note from a doctor or health department clearing them to return to work.
Polio is caused by a very infectious virus that lives in a sick person’s throat and intestines. It affects children under five most severely, and spreads when it enters the mouth through droplets from a sneeze or cough, or more commonly, miniscule particles of fecal matter – part of why it was so common in kids. Nearly three quarters of cases are asymptomatic, and most of the rest involve flu-like symptoms. A much smaller percentage of cases involve the brain and spinal cord, including a feeling of pins and needles, meningitis or paralysis. Some children who seem to recover fully from polio develop post-polio syndrome 15-40 years later, marked by muscle weakness or paralysis.
The polio vaccine was invented in the 50s, and until this recent case in New York, there hadn’t been any polio in the US since 1979. The vaccine prevents 99-100% of cases, and the one used in the US is an inactive vaccine that can’t cause infection because it doesn’t contain any live virus. The confirmed case in New York was in an unvaccinated 20-year-old who had contact with someone who had recently received the oral vaccine that’s still used in much of the rest of the world, which does contain weakened live virus and is capable of infecting unvaccinated people for a short period of time after vaccination. It’s very important that kids get the polio vaccine, with the first dose usually starting at 2 months old. If you or your kids aren’t yet vaccinated for polio, it’s a good time to go get that (safe and inactive) vaccine.
Believe it or not, we still don’t actually know when a person’s infectious period starts with monkeypox. We know for sure that a sick person is infectious when they have a rash or lesions on the skin, mouth, genitals or anus. We think it’s possible that they’re infectious during the flu-like symptoms stage, when they have a fever, headache, or other often mild flu symptoms. And we just don’t know if they’re infectious earlier than that, in the 1-2 week period after they were infected but before symptoms start. For now, the CDC’s guidance is that anyone with monkeypox symptoms should isolate for 2-4 weeks until their lesions are healed over with a fresh layer of skin and scabs have fallen off.
Experts are warning that a 'twindemic' of COVID and the flu might finally be upon us this coming fall. So far, we in the US have been able to avoid this, but with flu cases already rising in July, and COVID cases surging again, health experts are worried we will be following in Australia and New Zealand's footsteps straight to a twindemic.
The key is simple: make sure no employee works sick.
If you don't have an employee health monitoring program, now is a great time to start. And you can help prevent a 'twindemic' from hitting your business hard by providing a flu shot and/or COVID booster program for your employees. Keeping employees (and customers!) healthy is not just good practice, it protects your bottom line.
Learn more about starting a program by scheduling a 15 minute chat with us here.