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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 symptoms of mpox are milder, and it rarely causes death. Mpox isn't related to chickenpox.

Mpox spreads 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. During pregnancy, the virus can spread to the baby (fetus). 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 very painful spot, you may need antiviral medicines. Some 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.
  • Take a warm bath or apply calamine lotion or a prescription cream to sooth any itching.
  • 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 contact with other people until you no longer have 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 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 get a rash in your eye or have bad eye pain.
  • You have symptoms of infection, like redness spreading from the rash.
  • Your fever went away and then came back.
  • You have mild to moderate bleeding, such as a nosebleed that doesn't stop quickly.

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.