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Mpox: 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 is spread through close person-to-person contact, such as through cuddling, kissing, and having sex. It may be spread by touching items used by a person with mpox, such as blankets. A person who is pregnant can spread the virus to their unborn baby. It can also be spread from animals to people.

Mpox often causes a painful rash along with other symptoms. Symptoms last for about 2 to 4 weeks. Most people can treat their symptoms at home. If you're very sick or more likely to get very sick, or if the rash is in a certain spot, you may need antiviral medicines. In some cases, people are treated in the hospital.

Follow-up care is a key part of your 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 you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Get rest. And drink plenty of fluids.
  • Cover the rash with clothing or bandages.
  • Try not to scratch the rash.
  • Ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil), to help with pain.
  • If your doctor gave you 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 you have problems with your medicines.
  • Avoid close contact with other people and pets until you no longer have symptoms and the rash has healed completely. This can take a month or more.

When should you call for help?

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

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have a seizure.
  • You have new or worse trouble breathing.
  • You have new or worse chest pain.
  • You have a severe headache.
  • You are confused or can't think clearly.
  • You have trouble speaking or moving.
  • You have a stiff neck.
  • You vomit blood or what looks like coffee grounds.
  • You have blood in your stools.
  • You are bleeding heavily from anywhere.

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

  • Your rash gets much worse or starts spreading.
  • You have symptoms of infection, like redness spreading from the rash.
  • Your fever went away and then came back.
  • You start bleeding, but only a little, such as a nosebleed.

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

  • You are not getting better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.