Anyone who gets a new, unexplained skin rash should call their doctor and get medical care in case it’s monkeypox, public health officials advise.
But, how can you tell when it is time to worry?
The American Academy of Dermatology offers some tips for helping distinguish monkeypox, which is disproportionately affecting Blacks and the LBGTQ community, from other health issues that cause rashes and for getting care.
Is your rash a cause for concern?
“This time, monkeypox looks different,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Esther Freeman. She is director of Global Health Dermatology for Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, as well as a member of the American Academy of Dermatology’s Monkeypox Task Force.
While past outbreaks of monkeypox have started with a fever and flu-like symptoms and a rash that could include more than 200 bumps, this time it’s more common for people with monkeypox to get fewer skin bumps. They may also not have a fever or flu-like symptoms.
“During this particular outbreak, we’re seeing that the rash may start in the groin, genital region, or around the anus — and sometimes stay in the spot that it started instead of spreading,” Freeman said in an academy news release.
People may have only one or two blisters, pus-filled bumps, or open sores, which can be very painful.
A dermatologist can narrow down the causes of a rash by its pattern on the skin and where it appears, confirming suspected monkeypox with a swab sent to a lab.