Here's What To Do If You Have Monkeypox Symptoms, According To New CDC Guidance

With monkeypox in the headlines as the latest virus making its way around the globe, it's important to know what to do if you begin to experience symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new emergency guidance for those experiencing symptoms. The statement reports that since May of this year, there have been cases of monkeypox in 18 U.S. states and over 1,600 cases reported globally. The virus has historically been documented in Western and Central Africa.

Classic symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headaches, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and then a rash that initially appears on the face and then spreads to the hands, feet, and other areas of the body (via NBCNews). However, in more recent cases, patients first develop a rash in the mouth or around the area encompassing the genitals and anus. Rather than the rash spreading across the body, patients develop localized lesions in seemingly scattered areas. Some recent cases have also included rectal bleeding and feeling the need to have a bowel movement without passing any stool. On June 14, 2022, The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it had documented this new pattern of symptoms associated with monkeypox cases occurring outside of Africa.

How to treat symptoms of monkeypox

If you've developed skin lesions, it's important to get checked for monkeypox (via NBCNews). Keep in mind that monkeypox lesions can resemble symptoms of chickenpox or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), like syphilis and herpes. If a prescribed medication to treat an STD doesn't clear the lesions, it's recommended you seek medical attention. If you test positive for the virus, then the CDC recommends isolating until your skin has fully healed. Healing is complete when the lesions have formed scabs, the scabs have fallen off, and a new layer of skin has formed.

The symptoms of monkeypox, including lesions, fever, body aches, and flu-like symptoms, can last from two to four weeks (per NBCNews). Per information released by the CDC, the smallpox vaccine may effectively treat monkeypox outbreaks. If there are any concerns about symptoms or healing, consult a healthcare provider. Seeking medical attention as soon as possible is critical in preventing its spread.