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Monkeypox patient information

This information is correct at time of publishing. Monkeypox guidance may change so please check and for the most current information.

Please make a note of your local healthcare team’s contact details if you need to discuss any concerns or change in symptoms.

Your local team will contact you regularly, this will be agreed with you.

Further to your confirmed diagnosis of monkeypox, your healthcare team has provided this NHS information to support you to monitor your symptoms. This will help you to recognise if your symptoms get worse and enable you to get the help you need such as extra support or admission to hospital.

Monkeypox virus can be spread from an infected patient through:

  • touching clothing, bedding or towels they use
  • touching their skin blisters or scabs
  • coughing or sneezing
  • prolonged skin to skin contact.

Isolating at home

Full guidance on isolating at home has been published by UKHSA and is available here. This includes details on how to clean your home and dispose of waste as well as what to do with any pets.

  • If you have been diagnosed with monkeypox and you have been advised to self-isolate at home by your doctor, you should not go to work, school or public areas.
  • Do not invite or allow social visitors, such as friends and family, to visit you at home.
  • Avoid close contact with people you live with, take the following steps to reduce the chance of passing your infection on to the people you live with:
    • sleep in a separate room, if available, and do not share bedding.
      You may need to change your sleeping arrangements to accommodate this
    • use a separate bathroom from the rest of your household, if available.
      If you do not have a separate bathroom, follow the cleaning instructions below

      • make sure you use separate towels from other people in your home
    • eat in a separate room. Ask the people you live with to bring your meals to you, do not share food and drinks
  • Clean your hands frequently throughout the day by washing with soap and water for 20 seconds. Care should be taken if there are extensive or ulcerated hand lesions
  • Keep your laundry items separate from the rest of the household’s laundry and wash them using your normal detergent, following manufacturer’s instructions. If possible use the highest temperature which the items can withstand, do not overload the washing machine (aim for half or two-thirds full) and avoid shorter ‘economy cycles’ (those which reduce water and save energy) until you have fully recovered.

Medical advice

You should discuss any health concerns, including any concerns that may not relate to monkeypox, with your healthcare team. Details of monkeypox symptoms are detailed below.

If you have difficulty contacting your local healthcare team please dial 111.

If you require immediate emergency care please call 999.

You should tell the operator that you have confirmed monkeypox and advise them of the healthcare team that are looking after you.

All non-urgent medical and dental appointments should be cancelled while you are isolating at home. If you are concerned or have been asked to attend in person within the period you are home isolating, discuss this with your medical contact first.

You should only leave your home for essential purposes such as emergencies, or for urgent health and wellbeing issues.

  • If you need to leave your home, make sure the rash on your body is completely covered for example by wearing long-sleeved top and full-length trousers. Wear a well-fitting surgical face mask or a double-layered face covering while you are outside your home.
  • Keep the time spent outside your home as short as possible and avoid all contact with objects such as furniture in public spaces. If you need to attend hospital you should walk, cycle or drive yourself there. If you do not have your own vehicle, public transport can be used but you should avoid busy periods, cover any lesions with cloth (for example using scarfs or bandages) and wear a face covering.

Mild monkeypox symptoms

Symptoms are often mild and it can take between 5 and 21 days for the first symptoms to appear. These usually clear up within two to four weeks. Mild symptoms include:

  • mild rash limited to face, genitals, hands and feet
  • mild fever, temperature or chills
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • backache
  • swollen glands in neck, groin or armpits
  • mild fatigue.

These are common symptoms. You may not have all of these but still feel unwell. Paracetamol and regular fluids can help with these symptoms, and most people will get better by themselves within two to four weeks. If you are still feeling unwell after this time, please contact your healthcare team.

It is important that you monitor and report any worsening or new symptoms. Your healthcare team may encourage you to take pictures of your rash, especially if these areas become red, hot or swollen as this may be a sign of worsening infection.

Contact your healthcare team

If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should contact your GUM or sexual health clinic or NHS 111 as soon as possible:

  • significant increase of new lesions (‘crops’)
  • very painful lesions, eg lesions causing difficulty with passing urine or swallowing
  • any new signs of lesions that may be rapidly spreading
  • hot/red/swollen skin rash
  • any problems with eyes or vision eg double vision, blurred vision, eyes becoming yellow in colour or eye pain
  • feeling breathless especially when standing up or moving
  • new fever that may be a sign of infection
  • areas of redness/swelling that can indicate spreading of infection
  • change in symptoms, eg dark urine, light or pale stool, abdominal pain or itchy skin
  • sense that something is wrong (general weakness, severe tiredness, peeing much less than normal, unable to care for yourself eg simple tasks like washing and dressing or difficulties eating and drinking)
  • severe muscle aches or tiredness.

If you are finding it difficult to cope with isolation please speak to your healthcare team.


Call 999

A minority of people with monkeypox will suffer more severe symptoms or complications. You should dial 999 immediately if you experience the following signs of serious illness:

  • sudden difficulty in breathing or breathing faster than normal
  • unable to complete short sentences whilst at rest due to breathlessness
  • you collapse or faint
  • become agitated, confused or very drowsy
  • feeling cold and sweaty with pale or blotchy skin
  • shivering and shaking uncontrollably
  • develop a rash that doesn’t fade when you roll a glass over it
  • coughing up blood
  • stop passing urine or are passing much less urine than usual.

You should tell the operator that you have confirmed or probable monkeypox.

These symptoms require urgent medical attention.

Coming out of isolation

This should be discussed between you and your healthcare team.

  • You should self-isolate at home until:
    • you have not had a high temperature for at least 72 hours
    • you have had no new lesions in the previous 48 hours
    • all your lesions have scabbed over
    • you have no lesions in your mouth
    • any lesions on your face, arms and hands have scabbed over, all the scabs have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed underneath
  • If you meet all of the points above, you may be able to stop self-isolating and you should contact the medical team for further advice.
  • You should continue to avoid close contact with young children, pregnant women and immunosuppressed people until the scabs on all your lesions have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed underneath. This is because you may still be infectious until the scabs have fallen off.
  • After your self-isolation has ended you should cover any remaining lesions when leaving the house or having close contact with people in your household until all the scabs have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed underneath.
  • If you wish to resume sexual activity after your self-isolation has ended, you should use a condom for 8 weeks after your rash has scabbed over and scabs have fallen off. This is a precaution to reduce the risk of spreading infection to your partner.