If you think or know you have mpox, 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 mpox
If you have a new rash, sores, or bumps, contact a health care provider as soon as possible, even if you have been vaccinated against mpox. If you do not have a health care provider, reach out to a clinic offering mpox testing. Find clinics that can test for mpox.
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 mpox 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 mpox
Answer the call
If your mpox 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 an online tool to anonymously notify your close contacts of mpox 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 mpox.
Clean your home
If you live with other people, try to clean objects and surfaces you have touched in rooms you share with others, like the kitchen or bathroom. This will reduce the low risk of transmitting mpox to other people if they touch something you have touched. Learn more about how to clean your home while you recover.
Ask about treatment
Some people may be able to get treatment called TPOXX, or Tecovirimat. Patients who are not at high risk of severe illness, or not currently experiencing severe illness, may be able to get TPOXX through a clinical trial called STOMP. People at higher risk for severe illness or who are experiencing severe symptoms should get TPOXX, either through STOMP or from the state’s supply of TPOXX.
Talk with a health care provider if you are experiencing severe pain that cannot be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers.
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 only through the clinical trial or under an expanded access Investigational New Drug (EA-IND) protocol. This medication was previously approved for treatment of smallpox, a similar virus to mpox.
Studies are not yet available on how well TPOXX works when treating mpox 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 mpox. Clinical trials in people showed the drug was safe and had only minor side effects.
When to contact a health care provider
If your symptoms are getting worse, or you have symptoms that concern you, contact a health care provider. For a life-threatening emergency, call 911.
- CDC: What to do if you are sick.
- CDC: Safer Sex, Social Gatherings, and Mpox.
- AIDS United: Harm reduction tips for mpox.
- 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.