If You Are Sick or Exposed to Mpox

If You Have Been Exposed to Mpox:

Mpox is spread through close, physical contact between individuals. The mpox virus has primarily affected gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM), but anyone can get mpox. If you think you have been exposed to mpox:

  • Get the free mpox vaccine as soon as possible, regardless of your sexual orientation or gender identity. Contact a healthcare provider right away to find a vaccine appointment or find a vaccine location near you.
  • If exposed to mpox, you can still reduce your risk of infection by getting the vaccine within four days of exposure, and reduce the severity of your illness if you get the vaccine within 14 days.
  • Watch for mpox symptoms for 21 days from last exposure.
  • If you develop any mpox symptoms, including either rash or flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, or respiratory symptoms, see below for what to do.

More information on what to do if you are exposed to mpox, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

If You Are Sick:

If you are experiencing symptoms of mpox following a known or potential exposure to mpox, please see below for information on getting tested for mpox, managing your symptoms, and preventing further spread:

Mpox Testing:

Testing is recommended for individuals who have a rash consistent with mpox. Only healthcare providers can order an mpox test. Contact your local health department regarding testing options in your area.

Manage Mpox Symptoms:

Mpox symptoms may be painful, however there are steps you can take to manage your symptoms to help your body heal, ease discomfort, and prevent further transmission:

  • Washing your hands regularly and thoroughly.
  • Keeping rash areas clean and dry to protect against secondary infections.
  • Not touching, popping, or scratching the rash or sores to prevent the virus from spreading or further infection. If you do touch or scratch the rash, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Not shaving areas with rash until the sores have scabbed and new skin has formed.
  • Limiting sun exposure to avoid discoloring exposed sores.
  • Soaking in a warm bath with bath products for itchy skin (e.g., Epsom salt or oatmeal) may provide relief.
  • Eating healthy, drinking water, and getting plenty of rest.
  • Using over-the-counter stool softeners and pain medications (e.g., Motrin, Advil, Tylenol) to ease discomfort.
  • Talking to a healthcare provider about over-the-counter oral antihistamines and topical agents such as calamine lotion, cortisone 10, petroleum jelly, and lidocaine cream or gels to help with the itching.
  • Contact your healthcare provider if pain is severe and or unmanageable at home.

Other Treatment Options:

Most people will recover fully from mpox within 2 to 4 weeks without needing medical treatment.

Individuals who have a painful rash or sores should talk with their healthcare provider about medications both prescribed and over the counter to help with pain management and wound care. These may include prescription medicated mouthwashes to topical gels to provide pain relief, and information on how to keep rashes and sores clean.

While there is no specific treatment approved for mpox, antiviral medications approved for other illnesses are used to treat mpox among people with a weakened immune system, for those with severe symptoms (e.g., genital or rectal rashes), or for people at high risk for severe illness. Contact your healthcare provider to discuss treatment options.

Prevent Spread of Mpox:

If you have been diagnosed or have symptoms of mpox, take the following precautions:

  • If you have flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, or respiratory symptoms:
    • Isolate and avoid close contact with others, including family members or others in the same household.
  • Once you no longer have fever, chills, or respiratory symptoms:
    • Wear a well-fitting mask when around others.
    • Completely cover your rash or sores with clothing or bandages.
    • Do not share things with others such as food or utensils.
    • Clean and disinfect objects, fabrics, and surfaces you used.
  • Until all mpox sores are healed:
    • Refrain from sexual or intimate contact with others.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water regularly and thoroughly.
    • Stay away from pets, livestock, or any other animals since they could get mpox.

More information on what to do if you are sick, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention