If you have monkeypox symptoms, you may be required to stay out of work until your sores have healed. Talk to your employer.
You should isolate at home and avoid all contact with others if your symptoms include fever, chills or respiratory symptoms (such as cough, sneezing, runny nose and sore throat), until these symptoms go away without taking any fever-reducing or other medicine. Avoid contact with family members and having nonessential visitors in your home. If you cannot stay in a separate room from others at home, or if you must leave home for essential needs, take the precautions described above.
You do not need to isolate if you do not have a fever, chills or respiratory symptoms and you follow the precautions above.
There is no specific treatment approved for monkeypox. Most people get better on their own without treatment. However, antivirals for smallpox may help people who have severe symptoms or are at high risk for severe illness. Your provider will help you find out if you are eligible for antiviral treatment. They may be able to prescribe mouthwash, gels and other medicines to help with pain, swelling and itchiness.
Ask your provider or pharmacist for assistance choosing over-the-counter medicines. Read and closely follow any instructions on the medicine box and package insert, including about dose, frequency of use, who should not take or use the medicine, and allergies.
Here are some more ways to help you reduce symptoms:
Stay hydrated, especially if you have diarrhea.
Keep rash and sores clean and dry when not showering or bathing to prevent the sores from becoming infected.
Over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen, naproxen and acetaminophen can help reduce pain, swelling and fever.
For temporary itch relief, try antihistamines, calamine lotion, petroleum jelly and cooling lotions. A warm oatmeal bath can also help with itching and pain.
For mouth sores:
Rinse your mouth with clean salt water or a mouthwash with no alcohol at least four times a day.
Suck on ice chips or ice pops and drink water.
Consider using patches (such as DenKep Canker Cover) that cover the sores and benzocaine gels to reduce mouth pain, especially to help you eat and drink.
If you have sores on your genitals or rectum:
Take warm sitz baths lasting at least 10 minutes several times a day.
Dibucaine ointment, often used for hemorrhoids, or lidocaine gel may also provide temporary relief. These are for external use only.
Take docusate (such as Colace), a stool softener, to reduce pain when you go to the bathroom.
The following may increase your risk for severe illness if you are infected with monkeypox: HIV; other conditions that weaken your immune system; and a history of atopic dermatitis or eczema. If you have one of these conditions and monkeypox symptoms, it is especially important to see a provider right away.
Severe illness due to monkeypox may include a fever, rapid increase in the number of sores, confusion, stiff neck, difficulty breathing, seizure, diarrhea and vomiting. Contact your provider if your symptoms get worse, including increases in pain, redness or swelling; if you have cloudy or milky fluid at the site of the sores; or if your pain interferes with eating, sitting or going to the bathroom.
If you do not have a provider, call 311 or search the NYC Health Map. If it is an emergency, call 911 or go to the hospital.