May is Mental Health Awareness month. We’re proud to join the movement to bring more awareness to mental health issues that are facing your employees and communities.
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.
Despite what you may have heard, monkeypox isn’t actually a sexually transmitted infection like syphillus or gonorrhea. Monkeypox is spread through close physical contact with someone infected - contact with the lesions from their rash, breathing in large respiratory droplets, body fluids, broken skin, or even contact with clothing or bed sheets used by the sick person. Anyone under those circumstances can get infected with monkeypox. It’s true that a significant percentage of the current outbreak cases are in gay and bisexual men, and that there are a higher number of cases causing a rash in the groin area. Men who have sex with men are at a higher risk for contracting monkeypox right this moment, because it’s spreading from a specific infected person or persons who are part of that community in Europe, but it could easily spread outside of that group, as well. Experts agree that this outbreak isn’t just spread through sex, and anyone who has close physical contact with someone sick could become infected themselves.
You’re not alone! Other illnesses are back with a vengeance as COVID precautions that limited their spread have been lifted and people have resumed their normal activities for the most part. We’re seeing an uptick in flu…in May! We’re also seeing common adenovirus that’s linked to hepatitis in kids, RSV in the summer, and monkeypox outside of the areas that it’s endemic. It’s not just you - it’s everywhere. Experts think part of it has to do with the fact that we lost a lot of acquired immunity by locking ourselves inside for the past two years. Because kids and adults haven’t really had any exposure, they’re more susceptible. Doctors and public health experts are watching anxiously to see how the viruses respond after a two-year hiatus, as well.
The daily average is just over 109,000, but we know that’s a drastic undercount now that so many people are relying on rapid at-home tests. Estimates for the real number can go as high as 10-14 times higher than what we’re seeing reported, which would mean we’re at a very high number nationwide. This matches what we’ve seen and heard - that more people are getting sick in lots of different communities around the country right now.
The CDC and FDA right now advise against taking a second round of Paxlovid pills if you experience a rebound after finishing the first course. Researchers are still exploring how best to handle rebound cases. Some think that a second course might be prudent, especially because rebound cases can still be severe in rare cases. Others are worried that having people take two courses of the pill could increase the likelihood of drug-resistant virus and could have other unintended consequences because it hasn’t been extensively studied yet. Overall, our advice is to speak with your healthcare provider. Don’t start (or stop!) taking Paxlovid without consulting a doctor.