If you think or know you have monkeypox, there are actions you can take to keep people around you healthy while you recover. There are also resources that can help you with food, utilities, housing, and finances.
If you think you may have monkeypox
If you have a new rash, sores, or bumps, contact a health care provider as soon as possible. If you do not have a health care provider, reach out to a clinic offering monkeypox testing. Find clinics that can test for monkeypox.
When you go to your testing appointment, cover your rash with clothes or bandages. Wear a mask over your nose and mouth. Keep your mask on during your entire appointment. If possible, avoid the use of public transportation or rideshares (e.g., light rail, bus, Lyft, Uber) when going to and from your appointment.
You can take this letter about monkeypox with you to your appointment. It has information about what you and your health care provider can do to reduce the risk of transmission.
Stay home and avoid close contact with other people and pets as much as possible until you get your test results. If your results are negative, talk with the health care provider who did the test about what else may be causing your symptoms. If your results are positive, read below for what to do.
If you have been diagnosed with monkeypox
Answer the call
If your monkeypox test is positive, a public health official may contact you to learn more about your recent close contacts. It is important to answer calls from public health with the knowledge that no personally identifying details from these conversations will be released — they are confidential. They will also provide information about what to do while you are recovering from your infection. You can use this online tool to anonymously notify your close contacts of a monkeypox exposure. Notifying contacts is important so they can get early preventive treatment and avoid transmitting the infection to their contacts.
Isolate to protect others
If you can, you should stay home (except for emergencies or to get follow-up medical care) and avoid physical contact with other people or pets while you recover. This includes hugging, cuddling, kissing, and sex that involves direct physical contact.
Work from home if you have a job where it is possible. Clean your hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer. Clean surfaces you have touched if possible.
If you absolutely must leave home, cover your rash and wear a mask over your nose and mouth when you are around other people and animals.
If you live with other people, stay in a separate room if possible and use a separate bathroom if you have one. Stay apart from others until your rash has fully healed, your scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of healthy skin has formed. This may take two to four weeks.
Our home isolation guidance has more information about what to do while you are ill with monkeypox.
Clean your home
Monkeypox can live on surfaces, like counters, tables, lightswitches, and other objects like sheets and towels, for weeks. If you live with other people, do your best to clean anything you have touched in rooms you share with others, like the kitchen or the bathroom. Learn more about how to clean your home while you recover.
Ask about treatment
Some people at higher risk of severe illness may be able to get treatment called TPOXX, or Tecovirimat. People at higher risk include:
- Immunocompromised people.
- Children, especially those under 8 years of age.
- Pregnant or chest/breastfeeding people.
- People with certain skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis, eczema, burns, impetigo, varicella zoster virus infection, herpes simplex virus infection, severe acne, severe diaper rash, psoriasis, or Darier disease (keratosis follicularis).
- People with one or more complication, such as secondary bacterial skin infection; severe nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, or dehydration; bronchopneumonia; or another underlying health condition.
Some people may also be eligible for TPOXX for pain management or preventive reasons, such as having a lesion near their eye.
If you have a health care provider and are at high risk, ask about whether you might be able to get TPOXX to help you recover. You will need an order from a health care provider for TPOXX. This is because TPOXX is currently available under an expanded access Investigational New Drug (EA-IND) protocol. This medication was previously approved for treatment of smallpox, a similar virus to monkeypox.
Studies are not available on how well TPOXX works when treating monkeypox infections in people. There are studies using a variety of animal species that have shown TPOXX is effective in treating diseases caused by viruses that are similar to monkeypox. Clinical trials in people showed the drug was safe and had only minor side effects.
When to contact a health care provider
If you have worsening symptoms, such as pain that doesn’t get better with over-the-counter medicine, difficulty eating or drinking, any rash near or involving the eye, or other new or concerning symptoms, contact a health care provider. For a life-threatening emergency, call 911.
- CDC: What to do if you are sick.
- CDC: Notify your close contacts.
- AIDS United: Harm reduction tips for monkeypox.
- Apply for state benefits with Colorado PEAK. These include SNAP (food stamps), health care coverage, cash assistance, help with utilities, and help with transit.
- Use Hunger Free Colorado’s Food Finder page for help with finding food or call the statewide toll-free hotline at 855-855-4626.
- Colorado Consumer Health Initiative helps Coloradans who have issues with their health coverage.
- Find child care resources on the Colorado Department of Early Childhood’s webpage.
- Colorado Crisis Services offers mental health support for Coloradans. Call 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255 to be connected to a clinician or peer specialist.