What To Know About The Risk Of Contracting Monkeypox From Your Salon

Concerns are growing in many regions of the world as a result of escalating global monkeypox outbreaks. Naming monkeypox a public health emergency on August 4, the Joe Biden administration, per Reuters, is speeding up the vaccination effort by including an extra 1.8 million doses of vaccine. Monkeypox, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is a disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus, which comes from the same family that begets the smallpox virus. The most common symptoms of monkeypox include a rash, chills, respiratory difficulties, swollen lymph nodes, or blisters that form on different parts of the body. Rarely fatal, monkeypox symptoms tend to clear up in about two to four weeks.

While monkeypox is commonly recognized to transmit through close physical contact, a CDC investigation found that the virus may infect high-contact surfaces such as chairs and tables. This discovery raised the question of whether our go-to places for beauty treatment, like hair salons or nail salons, might be a breeding habitat for the monkeypox virus. Furthermore, most salon and manicure treatments include client touch, which naturally increases the risk of infection. So, are you more likely to get monkeypox when having your mane tamed or your manicure done?

The risk of catching monkeypox at salons is low

Dr. Syra Madad, an infectious disease epidemiologist, tells InStyle that activities that entail lengthy skin-to-skin contact are often riskier and can transmit monkeypox. Therefore, a haircut or a blowout isn't typically high-risk enough to lead to a monkeypox infection. The chances of catching monkeypox during a manicure or pedicure are also low, as long as you or the nail specialist don't have any skin infection and refrain from chit-chatting within a close distance.

That said, additional precautions should still be adopted to minimize the risks of infection. For instance, a salon staff member might still get infected if they have an open wound in the hand while the customer has sores on the scalp. Nothing has been verified; however, monkeypox is said to be spread by touching an infected person's lesion. Therefore, those who come in close contact with customers should wear gloves while doing their job, says professor of clinical medicine Helen Koenig (via Medical Xpress). For your own safety as a client, don't let any staff perform a service on you unless they wear gloves, perform hand hygiene thoroughly, and use sterilized tools. If you have infected sores, a skin cut, or a fever, avoid getting a beauty treatment at a salon until your symptoms clear up.

How to protect yourself if you work at a salon

To reduce infection risks, CE Institute LLC recommends hairdressers or nail specialists avoid working on any skin or scalp with open wounds or pus-filled sores. For example, if you notice scalp lesions on your client's skin, inquire whether they have had them examined. If the client is not aware of their blisters or has a running fever, which is also a sign of infection, you should suggest they get medical assistance before offering any service. Multnomah County in Oregon advises salon staffers to inform customers in advance that you can't offer a service to anyone with monkeypox symptoms.

If possible, always wear masks and eye protection when you're working to prevent viral transmission through bodily fluids and respiratory release. To reduce infection risks at the workplace, regularly disinfect your working space, keep it well-ventilated, and sanitize items touched by clients such as towels, lockers, and doorknobs. Depending on your line of work, wash your hands with soap or alcohol-based sanitizer as often as possible. In case you think you've been exposed, contact your healthcare provider immediately, and quarantine yourself until you get tested and receive medical attention from specialists.