What Do I Do if I'm Sick?

There are no treatments specifically for monkeypox virus infections and most people fully recover within 2 to 4 weeks without the need for medical treatment.

However, because monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, there are some antiviral drugs that may be used to treat monkeypox virus infections. These antivirals are currently only recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like immunocompromised individuals.

Take the following steps if you are experiencing monkeypox symptoms:

Notify your close contacts that they may have been exposed to monkeypox as soon as possible. A close contact is anyone, since the start of your symptoms you:

  • Have had sex with; this includes oral, anal, and vaginal sex
  • Have hugged, kissed, or cuddled.
  • Shared cups, utensils, towels, clothing, bedding, or other objects and materials with
  • Have touched or come in contact with the rash on your body.

Prevent the spread to others by staying at home (isolate) until your monkeypox rash has healed. Wear a well-fitting mask around other people in your household until the rash and all other symptoms have resolved.

Take care of yourself

  • Cover your rash with gauze or bandages and keep the skin clean and dry when not showering or bathing.
  • Don't pop or scratch the lesions from the rash. This can spread the virus to other parts of the body.
  • Do not shave the area with the rash until the scabs have fallen off. Shaving can spread the virus and cause more lesions.
  • Wash hands often, especially after direct contact with the rash.
  • Topical benzocaine/lidocaine gels can be used for temporary relief of itch from the rash. Oral antihistamines such as Benadryl and topical creams such as calamine lotion or petroleum jelly may help with itching.
  • Soaking in a warm bath (using oatmeal or other bath products for itchy skin) may offer some relief to the dry, itchy rash.
  • Eat healthy and get plenty of rest to allow your body to heal.
  • Medicines like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help.
  • Contact your healthcare provider if pain becomes severe and unmanageable at home.