ALERT: Monkeypox is on the rise in Philadelphia. LEARN MORE

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MPOX

(formerly known as monkeypox)

Learn about symptoms, protecting yourself, vaccines and more.

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HOW DO I GET MPOX?

MPOX doesn’t spread through casual conversations, or by walking past someone. It is also unlikely you’d get it from touching a surface (like a doorknob or bus seat). However, you can get it through:

  • Skin-to-skin contact with an infected person who has sores or scabs
  • Kissing or lengthy face-to-face contact
  • Sharing towels, bedding, sex toys, or unwashed clothing

While condoms don’t fully protect against MPOX, they can help reduce the risk of skin-to-skin contact with bumps in the genital area.

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HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE MPOX?

You may start showing MPOX symptoms 1 to 2 weeks after being exposed to the virus. Before you start to have symptoms, it’s unlikely that you will pass MPOX on to others.

Symptoms can include fever, swollen lymph nodes, intense headache, muscle aches, and rash. Rashes can develop on your face, hands, feet, genitals, or elsewhere on your body.

Though some people have a mild rash, sometimes the rash can be very painful. You can easily spread MPOX while you have the rash.

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WHAT DO I DO IF I MIGHT HAVE MPOX?

Having MPOX may be scary and the disease can be painful but contracting MPOX is not your fault.

Most people recover with just rest and medication like Tylenol for symptoms. But if you have severe symptoms or are at risk for severe disease, there are medications available that may help. Here’s how you can prevent spreading it to others:

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Stay at home until you can talk to your doctor and get tested. If you don’t have insurance or your insurance doesn’t cover the cost of testing, you can visit Health Center 1, Health Center 5, or Mazzoni Center to get tested at low or no cost. If you have severe symptoms, go to an urgent care facility.

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Avoid skin-to-skin contact and kissing and avoid sharing bedding, towels, clothing, or sex toys with others.

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Inform your recent sexual partners that they may have been exposed to MPOX so they can help prevent spreading it to others.

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If you have to go out, cover rashes or sores with clothing, gloves, or sealed bandages and wear a mask over your nose and mouth.

HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN I’M NO LONGER CONTAGIOUS?

The rashes will crust and scab over after about 2 weeks. Once all scabs have fallen off, you can no longer spread MPOX.

WHERE CAN I GET A MPOX VACCINE?

Find a location in Philadelphia to get a MPOX vaccine. All locations allow walk-ins but you can also schedule an appointment.

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WHAT CAN I DO TO PREVENT GETTING MPOX?

There are some things you can do to avoid getting MPOX:

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Ask your friends, family, and sex partners about symptoms before intimate contact (hugging, kissing, cuddling, sex, play, etc).

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Consider safe alternatives to skin-to-skin contact with people if you are unable to discuss symptoms with them or if your partner has symptoms that could be MPOX.

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Keep skin covered especially in crowded events where you are bumping up against others. Move to less crowded areas.

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Make sure to have a conversation about symptoms before continuing to share bedsheets, towels, or clothing with others.

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Condoms can reduce the risk of MPOX but not eliminate it entirely since the MPOX rash can be on any part of the body. Condoms are a great way to prevent other STIs, and also HIV.

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Get vaccinated.

Stay informed about MPOX testing and vaccine availability by returning to this page in the future to check for updates.

You can also visit the Health Department’s MPOX page for updated information.