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Originally Published by Fortune Well

School’s back in session for most of the country, and as kids return to their close-quarter classrooms, so do a host of viruses and bacteria. Alongside flu, the common cold, and COVID-19 concerns, some parents are feeling fresh worry about recent outbreaks of monkeypox and polio.

“It’s pretty inevitable once you’re in school spaces that your kids are going to get sick,” says Sonja O’Leary, MD, chair of the Council on School Health for the American Academy of Pediatrics. “But you can come into the school year with eyes wide open, knowing that there are risks involved, and weighing those risks versus the myriad of benefits to attending school.”

As of August 31, there have been 17 cases of monkeypox in children 15 and younger in the U.S. “The vast majority of monkeypox cases are occurring in adults such as men who have sex with men or anyone who has been very sexually active and has multiple partners.”

To contract monkeypox, your child would have to have skin to skin contact with an infected person for a prolonged period of time, touch a contaminated surface, or come into direct contact with an infected respiratory excretion like a sneeze.

A child with the disease typically has a rash of red bumps that start small and become larger and fill with pus before crusting over. They may also feel like they have the flu, with fever, muscle aches, headaches, and swollen lymph nodes. It can be painful, but is rarely fatal—though it’s more likely to cause serious illness in kids under eight.

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