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Syphilis

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STI) caused by bacteria.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Medicines:

  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.

  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.

  • Antibiotics help treat the bacteria that caused your syphilis.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your 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.

Treatment reaction:

You may have a reaction within the first day after treatment. Symptoms include a fever, chills, nausea, rash, and a headache. This happens as the antibiotic starts to kill the bacteria that caused your syphilis. It is not an allergic reaction to the antibiotics. These symptoms usually get better in 1 or 2 days.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return regularly for tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Prevent the spread of syphilis:

  • Tell your sexual partners about your syphilis. Tell everyone you have had sex with in the past 3 months. They need to be checked for infection and may need treatment.

  • Do not have sex until treatment is complete. This usually takes at least 2 months. Your healthcare provider will tell you when you can resume sexual activity.

  • Use protection. After your treatment is complete, use condoms and follow safe sex practices. This will help prevent the spread of syphilis and other STIs.

  • Get tested for HIV. You are at increased risk of HIV if you have syphilis.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever or feel achy.

  • You are pregnant and think you have syphilis.

  • You have a new rash, sore throat, or swollen joint.

  • Your symptoms do not go away after treatment, or they come back.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have a headache and a stiff neck.

  • You feel weak, dizzy, or like you are going to faint.

  • You have shortness of breath.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.

Learn more about Syphilis (Aftercare Instructions)

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