WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Legionnaire's disease (LD) is a condition where germs called Legionella cause damage to your lungs. The Legionella germs can be found in many different water sources. LD is caused by breathing in steam or water droplets that have these germs. Germs can also enter your lungs when you choke on food or liquids mixed with infected water. With LD you may have a fever, dry cough, trouble breathing, headaches, and body pain. You may have a decreased appetite, stomach pain, vomiting (throwing up), and loose watery stools. You may also have problems thinking and remembering things, and feel like you have no energy.
- Your caregiver will ask what symptoms you have and how bad they are. He may ask if you have visited any places or different countries recently. You may need to have your blood, urine, and sputum tested for germs. You may need a bronchoscopy to test the fluid from your lungs for LD germs. Your will need antibiotic medicine to kill the Legionella germs. Early treatment of LD can decrease or prevent any damage to other organs in your body. With treatment you may fully recover.
AFTER YOU LEAVE:
Take your medicine as directed.
Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:
For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.
Do not drink alcohol:
Some people should not drink alcohol. These people include those with certain medical conditions or who take medicine that interacts with alcohol. Alcohol includes beer, wine, and liquor. Tell your caregiver if you drink alcohol. Ask him to help you stop drinking.
Do not smoke:
If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask for information about how to stop smoking if you need help.
You may be able to kill the germs causing LD by cleaning the places they may grow often. You may need to use a special cleaning fluid to kill the germs that cause LD. Ask your caregiver for more information on which cleaning fluids to use. You may also do the following:
- Have your air-conditioning system, hot tubs, or water tanks cleaned regularly.
- When using a humidifier, follow the instructions on how to keep it clean.
- If you use a nebulizer, use sterile (clean) water for it. Follow instructions on how to use and keep your nebulizer clean. A nebulizer is a special device which gives breathing medicines in a mist form.
- Tell your caregivers if someone you work or live with may have LD.
For more information:
Contact any of the following for more information:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta , GA 30333
Phone: 1- 404 - 6393311
Phone: 1- 800 - 3113435
Web Address: http://www.cdc.gov
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You have a fever.
- You have very dry skin, dry mouth and tongue, or feel very thirsty.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition, treatment, or care.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- You cannot stop throwing up and cannot keep your medicine down.
- You cough up blood.
- You feel dizzy, or have problems thinking and remembering things clearly.
- You have trouble breathing.
- You suddenly have chest pain.
- Your symptoms become worse even after taking medicine.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.