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Ease Your Concerns About Monkeypox

Date: 08/19/22

What to know and how to protect yourself

Monkeypox is a viral illness that has been moving through California and the U.S. since Spring 2022. Though current risk to the public is low, anyone can get monkeypox. Still, it's good to know monkeypox signs and symptoms to help keep you and others safe.

How monkeypox spreads

  • Touching: Monkeypox spreads through skin-to-skin contact (e.g., hugging, kissing, sex) with someone who has symptoms.
  • Sharing items: Sharing items (clothing, bedding, towels) used by someone with symptoms.

Monkeypox can spread through talking, coughing and breathing close to someone for a long stretch of time. This mainly happens when living with, or caring for, someone with symptoms.

Symptoms to look for

The main monkeypox symptom is a rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appear on your face, inside your mouth and on your:

  • Hands
  • Feet
  • Chest
  • Genitals
  • Anus

Other symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

Prevent monkeypox

The best way to help prevent the spread of monkeypox is to avoid close contact, including sexual contact, with people who are sick or who have a rash.

Also, avoid sharing items with people who have symptoms. Items include:

  • Bedding
  • Towels
  • Clothing
  • Cups and utensils

Items should be cleaned and sterilized before use by others.

What to do if you have symptoms

If you have monkeypox symptoms:

  • Contact a health care provider right away.
  • Isolate at home until:
    1. The rash is gone
    2. The scabs have fallen off
    3. A fresh layer of skin has formed

Also, if you have an active rash or other symptoms, stay in a separate room or area away from people or pets you live with. If you need to be around others in your home (e.g., caring for children or family members), cover up sores/rash and wear a mask.

When you are the person with monkeypox, you should change your own dressings (if you can) and handle your linens while wearing throwaway gloves. This should be quickly followed by washing your hands after taking off the gloves.

Symptoms can start at any time between 5 and 21 days after you've been exposed.

Monkeypox treatment

Most people have mild symptoms and do not require treatment. A health care provider may suggest treatment to reduce your symptoms.

Note: People who meet certain exposure and risk standards may be able to get a vaccine. Contact your health provider or your local health department with questions.


Source: August 2022 © California Department of Public Health

Last Updated: 08/19/2022