Health Information and Tools > Patient Care Handouts >  Mpox in Children: Care Instructions

Main Content

Mpox in Children: Care Instructions


Mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) is a disease caused by a virus. The mpox virus is from the same family of viruses as smallpox. Mpox and smallpox have similar symptoms. But mpox symptoms are milder, and it rarely causes death. Mpox isn't related to chickenpox.

Mpox spreads through close person-to-person contact, such as cuddling. It may spread when you touch items used by someone with mpox, like their blankets. If you're pregnant and have the virus, you can spread it to your baby during pregnancy or childbirth. The virus can also spread from animals to people and from people to animals.

Symptoms include a painful rash and a fever. Symptoms last for about 2 to 4 weeks. Most children can be cared for at home. If your child is very sick or more likely to get very sick, or if the rash is in a very painful spot, antiviral medicines may be needed. Sometimes mpox is treated in the hospital.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. If your child needs medical care, it’s important to tell the doctor or nurses that your child has mpox before going to a clinic or hospital. This is so they can take precautions to prevent the virus from spreading to others. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Make sure your child gets rest and drinks plenty of fluids.
  • Cover the rash with clothing or bandages.
  • Wear gloves when changing your child's bandages and clothing. Throw gloves away after use. Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Try to keep your child from scratching the rash or touching their eyes.
  • If your child is older than 2, have them wear a mask when around others, if you can. Wear a mask when caring for your child.
  • Keep your child home from school or childcare and away from other people—especially children under age 12 years, anyone with a weak immune system, and anyone who is pregnant—and pets until they no longer have symptoms and the rash has healed. This can take a month or more.
  • Ask your doctor if you can give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) to help with pain. Do not use ibuprofen if your child is less than 6 months old unless the doctor gave you instructions to use it. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Do not give your child two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
  • If your doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain or to treat the virus, read and follow all instructions on the label. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if your child has problems with the medicines.
  • Have your child stay away from other people until your child no longer has symptoms. This means that the rash blisters have scabbed over, the scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed where the scabs used to be.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).
  • Your child has a seizure.
  • Your child has new or worse trouble breathing.
  • Your child has new or worse chest pain.
  • Your child has a severe headache.
  • Your child is confused or can't think clearly.
  • Your child has trouble speaking or moving.
  • Your child has a stiff neck.
  • Your child vomits blood or what looks like coffee grounds.
  • Your child has blood in their stools.
  • Your child is bleeding heavily from anywhere.

When you call 911, tell them your child was diagnosed with mpox, which is contagious. You will get instructions on what is best for your child.

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child's rash gets much worse or starts spreading.
  • Your child gets a rash in their eye or bad eye pain.
  • Your child's rash shows signs of infection, like increased pain, warmth, or redness around the rash.
  • Your child's fever went away and then came back.
  • Your child has mild to moderate bleeding, such as a nosebleed that doesn't stop quickly.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • Your child is not getting better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

Enter M346 in the search box to learn more about "Mpox in Children: Care Instructions".

Adapted with permission from copyrighted materials from Healthwise, Incorporated (Healthwise). This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty and is not responsible or liable for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.