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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Anthrax is an infection caused by bacteria. The bacteria are found in soil and spread from animals to humans. Cutaneous anthrax, or skin infection, is the most common. Lung infection is rare and may develop if you breathe in the bacteria. Intestine infection is also rare and may develop if you eat food that contains the bacteria.
Call 911 for any of the following:
- You have severe shortness of breath.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your abdomen is swollen, tender, and hard.
- You have severe pain.
- You vomit blood or have blood in your bowel movements.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a sudden, high fever.
- Your symptoms do not go away or they get worse, even after treatment.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- Antibiotics help treat the infection caused by the anthrax bacteria.
- 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.
Ask your healthcare provider about the anthrax vaccine:
The anthrax vaccine helps prevent all forms of infection. The vaccine is recommended for people at higher risk for infection. This includes anyone who works directly with the bacteria, such as in a lab. Military personnel and anyone who travels to or works with animal hides or fur in high-risk areas should also be vaccinated. The vaccine is not recommended for anyone younger than 18 years.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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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.