Do I Have Monkeypox?

Published: July 18, 2022
Revised: August 30, 2022
Melody Berg
By Melody Berg, PharmD, MPH, BCPS

Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus. It spreads by coming into contact with an infected person by touching their rash or sores. This includes during sex, including when skin is touching skin for a period of time. You can also get Monkeypox by coming into contact with infected animals and coming into contact with respiratory secretions (mucus and saliva) from an infected individual. It can be spread by touching objects, fabrics, and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.

Do I have Monkeypox?
Symptoms of monkeypox begin within 3 weeks of exposure. Initially you may feel like you have the flu, with symptoms like a fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion. Within a few days of the start of fever, a rash begins.

Not everyone develops all of the symptoms, and the rash may appear as only a few lesions. If you think you may have been exposed to monkeypox or have monkeypox symptoms, talk to your doctor or pharmacist and isolate yourself from others.

What does the Monkeypox rash look like?
A monkeypox rash can appear as spots, pimples, blisters, lesions, or crater-like ulcers. It can start in one area of your body (including the genitals or in your mouth) and spread to other parts of your body.

Does the Monkeypox rash itch?
No, not at first. The rash goes through several phases. First it develops into fluid-filled pustules that may be painful. Once the lesions start to heal and scab over, the rash may become itchy.

Summary
The disease typically runs its course in 2 to 4 weeks. Most people with monkeypox tend feel better on their own. The infected person will remain contagious until the rash has completely healed and new skin has formed after the scabs have fallen off. There are no specific treatments for monkeypox at this time but your doctor may prescribe you medications to treat your symptoms or keep you from getting sicker.

Related content
How Do I Get Monkeypox?

I Have Monkeypox: What Should I Do?

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Should I be Concerned About a Monkeypox Outbreak?

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