I Have Monkeypox: What Should I Do?

Published: July 13, 2022
Revised: August 30, 2022
Melody Berg
By Melody Berg, PharmD, MPH, BCPS

Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus. It can spread by coming into contact with a person or animal that is infected.

A pharmacist with advanced training in infectious diseases provides the following information if you think you have Monkeypox or if you have been diagnosed with the illness.

What should I do if I have Monkeypox?
If you think you have Monkeypox, contact your healthcare provider right away. They will take small sample of your rash and send it to a lab for analysis to see if you have the disease.

Another important thing to do is to quarantine yourself at home and make sure other people don’t touch recently contaminated bed linens, towels, or clothes.

Are there medications to treat for Monkeypox?
There are two vaccines that are effective against Monkeypox. Click here for more information and to see if you qualify to be vaccinated. There is no medication specifically for the treatment of Monkeypox at this time. However, there is an antiviral called tecovirimat (Tpoxx) that has been used to treat smallpox that may work against monkeypox and is given to people infected with monkeypox who may be at risk for more severe disease, such as those with weakened immune systems.

In addition, your pharmacist can recommend over-the-counter (OTC) products to help manage your symptoms so you feel better.

  • Fever: Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be used to lower your fever and improve the flu-like symptoms that are often associated with Monkeypox. The adult dose of acetaminophen is 650 mg every 4 to 6 hours. The total daily dose should not exceed 3250 mg in 24 hours because higher amounts may damage your liver. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) are another option to help with fever and discomfort. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and Naproxen (Aleve) are examples of NSAIDs.
  • Dry or itchy skin: Add colloidal oatmeal and soak in a warm (not hot) bath for 15 minutes to soothe skin.
  • Rash or open sores: Cover areas of your body that have lesions with bandages to help with healing as well as prevent the spread of the virus to others.

Summary
The number of monkeypox cases is rising in the United States and other countries. If you think you have monkeypox or have been exposed to the monkeypox virus, contact your healthcare provider. If you have been diagnosed with monkeypox, there are many OTC products that can help improve your symptoms. Most people with monkeypox tend feel better on their own. The disease typically runs its course in two to four weeks.

Related content
Do I Have Monkeypox?

How Do I Get Monkeypox?

Smallpox/Monkeypox Vaccine

Should I be Concerned About a Monkeypox Outbreak?

 

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