Although she has recovered from monkeypox, Camille Seaton is reluctant to leave the house for long periods of time, having groceries and food delivered to her home.
The Georgia resident’s journey with the virus began on July 11 when she noticed several bumps forming on her face, assuming it was acne and ignoring it. “But that night they already turned white. So I knew something was wrong,” Seaton, 20, told PEOPLE.
After more bumps quickly appeared on her face, Seaton went to the hospital on July 16 for lab tests. She learned a few days later that she had a confirmed case of monkeypox – one of the first in her condition – and what she thought was acne were actually lesions. She says she thinks she contracted the virus from constantly handling cash at the local petrol station where she works.
“I was getting a lot of money. The mask laws were lifted, so we weren’t wearing masks anymore. I wasn’t wearing gloves,” says Seaton. “I just wasn’t paying attention and touched my face and body and unknowingly transferred a whole bunch of germs.”
RELATED: Can monkeypox spread through objects like doorknobs? Expert says US cases top 6,500
RELATED: Andy Cohen Slams Government’s ‘Abyssal’ Response to Monkey Pox, Warns His ‘Gay Brothers’ to Stay Safe
Monkeypox is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, but experts say it can also be spread through large respiratory droplets. According to Dr. Linda Yancey, an infectious disease specialist at Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, it’s “absolutely possible” that monkeypox could be transmitted through objects like money, as the virus can survive for days in an environment. .
“So monkeypox is a sibling of smallpox… It absolutely could be transmitted that way,” Yancey told PEOPLE. “And actually one of the cases in the United States was a woman who was exposed to sheets. She cleans Airbnbs for a living. So any very sensitive items like money, doorknobs, shopping carts, have transmission potential.”
Seaton says she didn’t know anything about monkeypox until she contracted it and her symptoms rapidly worsened while isolating at home. In addition to the lesions, she experienced fever, rash, headache, fatigue, joint and muscle pain.
“It was uncomfortable. I was sanitizing everything, you know, like washing my hands every 15 minutes,” Seaton said. “The lesions on my face were the first to appear and the bumps stayed on my face for a whole week and a half. And when my face started to heal, bumps started appearing on my body.”
“I have a lot on my hands, so it was hard for me to do anything with my hands,” she adds. “I couldn’t hold my phone. I couldn’t do anything around the house. I couldn’t even fold my clothes. It was extremely painful.”
RELATED: WHO declares monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of ‘international concern’
RELATED: California Man Details ‘Excruciatingly Painful’ Monkeypox Recovery to Show ‘How Serious It Is’
Seaton explains that overcoming the symptoms was just a waiting game since she was not offered the vaccine.
Monkeypox can be prevented with the Jynneos smallpox vaccine, which can also be effective after a person is diagnosed, according to the CDC. Along with the vaccine, medical professionals have also used antiviral treatments, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), for monkeypox with patients more likely to become seriously ill.
Although medical staff were unable to provide antiviral treatments to Seaton, he was prescribed amoxicillin and steroids as he was simultaneously diagnosed with strep throat. For Monkeypox, the doctors just gave him Tylenol to bring down his fever.
“The recovery process from monkeypox varies from two to four weeks, some people are fine in a week, some people are fine in two weeks, some people take the whole four weeks. In my case, I took three and a half weeks heal,” she continues.
Never miss a story – subscribe to PEOPLEthe free daily newsletter of to stay up to date on the best that PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to gripping human interest stories.
“I was in touch with someone from the CDC and she was actually with me throughout the process,” Seaton notes. “I checked in with her and sent photos every time something changed until I was cured.”
After weeks on a stay-at-home order, Seaton was cleared Aug. 1 after CDC officials said she was “officially overwhelmed with being contagious.” However, she still has reservations after recovering and doesn’t yet feel comfortable bringing her 3-year-old daughter home.
Seaton tells PEOPLE she’s had a ‘difficult and emotional’ few weeks and urges others to start wearing masks and gloves again, admitting she wants the state to ‘lock us down again’.
“It’s really attacking you and taking a toll on you. It’s very, very painful. I want people to know it’s there and it’s spreading. It’s not a joke,” Seaton said. “I can do what I can for the scars…they will fade but you will forever notice they are there.”