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What to do if you are sick

Talk to your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of mpox, even if you don’t think you have had contact with someone who has mpox.


Most people with mpox fully recover in 2 to 4 weeks and don’t need medical treatment from a healthcare provider. People with a weakened immune system or those who may be more likely to get very ill may need medical treatment.  


If you have mpox, stay at home and stay away from other people and animals. You can end your isolation when your rash has healed and a new layer of skin has formed. You can find more information about preventing mpox at CDC’s Prevent Spread to Others webpage.   

How can I treat symptoms at home?

The following list provides ways to take care of yourself and help reduce symptoms using medicines and remedies that do not require a prescription. 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.

General Treatment

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other fluids, especially if you have diarrhea.
  • Keep rash and sores clean and dry when not showering or bathing to prevent the sores from becoming infected.
  • Try not to touch or scratch the rash to prevent spreading the virus to others.
  • The American Academy for Dermatology offers information about caring for the skin and lesions.

Treatment for Pain and Itching

  • Medicines such as ibuprofen (such as Advil and Motrin), naproxen (such as Aleve) and acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) can help reduce pain, swelling, and fever. It is important to keep to the recommended dosage and interval per medicine.
  • Antihistamines (such as Benadryl), calamine lotion, petroleum jelly, and cooling lotions (such as menthol and camphor lotions) can provide temporary itch relief.
  • Warm oatmeal baths or sitz bath can reduce itching and pain.
  • 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.

Treatment for Mouth Sores

  • Rinse your mouth with clean salt water at least four times per day to keep mouth sores clean; a mouthwash with no alcohol (such as Listerine Zero Alcohol) can also be used.
  • Suck on ice chips or ice pops and drink water to stay hydrated.
  • Consider using patches (such as Dentemp Canker Cover) that cover the sores and benzocaine gels to reduce mouth pain, especially to help you eat and drink.

Page last reviewed: May 2, 2024

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