Treatments

VDH is updating webpages with the term "mpox"

VDH is updating webpages with the term "mpox" to reduce stigma and other issues associated with prior terminology. This change is aligned with the recent World Health Organization decision.

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What to do if you are sick

Most people with mpox recover fully within 2 to 4 weeks without the need for medical treatment. For those with a weakened immune system or at high risk, may need treatment.

Mpox Treatment Options

What are the treatment options for mpox?

There are no specific treatments for mpox virus infections. However, mpox and smallpox viruses are similar. This means that treatments developed to protect against smallpox may be used to treat mpox virus infections.

Not everyone who has symptoms of mpox is recommended to take medical treatments. Certain antivirals, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems. Many symptoms can be treated at home.

At-Home Mpox Treatment

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.

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.

Treatment Options from Healthcare Providers

What do I do if I need medical treatment?

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

Healthcare providers may not have these treatments on site, but they can work with VDH to provide them to patients. VDH is working with healthcare providers to make sure they have information about mpox treatment.

TPOXX

Certain antivirals, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems.

Clinical Trials

A clinical trial evaluating the antiviral tecovirimat, also known as TPOXX, is now enrolling adults and children with mpox infection in the United States. Interested volunteers can visit the ACTG website (clinical trial A5418) for more information.

Last updated: November 2, 2022

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