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Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) occurs when a toxic substance is released into your bloodstream and destroys red blood cells. This causes bleeding, blood clots, and kidney damage.
Seek care immediately if:
- You are urinating less than usual or not at all.
- You have diarrhea and are vomiting.
- You have severe abdominal pain.
- You have a severe headache, trouble thinking, and are confused.
- You have trouble seeing.
Call your doctor or nephrologist if:
- You have a fever.
- You have bleeding from your gums, lips, or nose.
- You have bloody or dark bowel movements.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- Medicines may be needed to treat other health conditions caused by HUS.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her 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.
You may need to make changes to the foods you eat. Keep a list of foods you can eat. You may need to take vitamin and mineral supplements, such as calcium. Drink liquids as directed. You may need to write down how much liquid you drink and how much you urinate. Your healthcare provider will tell you how much of the following you can have each day:
- Limit protein to help your kidneys work better. Foods high in protein include beef, chicken, fish, eggs, and dairy products (milk, cheese, and yogurt).
- Limit the amount of phosphorus you have each day. Damaged kidneys cannot get rid of the extra phosphorus that builds up, leading to low calcium and bone fractures. Foods that are high in phosphorus are dairy products, beans, peas, and nuts. Phosphorous is also found in cocoa, beer, and soda.
- You may need to limit the amount of sodium (salt) you eat each day. Sodium can lead to fluid buildup in your tissues and can damage your heart. Damaged kidneys cannot get rid of the extra fluid. Canned foods, processed meats such as sandwich meats and sausage, canned soups, and salted snacks are high in sodium.
- You may need to limit potassium. Potassium is found in foods such as fruits and vegetables. Your kidneys may not be able to get rid of extra potassium. This may cause potassium to build up in your blood. High potassium levels can lead to heart problems.
Prevent foodborne diseases:
Make sure everyone in your house follows these rules:
- Wash your hands often. Wash your hands several times each day. Wash after you use the bathroom, change a child's diaper, and before you prepare or eat food. Use soap and water every time. Rub your soapy hands together, lacing your fingers. Wash the front and back of each hand, and in between your fingers. Use the fingers of one hand to scrub under the fingernails of the other hand. Wash for at least 20 seconds. Rinse with warm, running water for several seconds. Then dry your hands with a clean towel or paper towel. Use hand sanitizer that contains alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Keep raw and cooked foods separate. Do not put cooked food on an unwashed cutting board, plate, or storage container that had raw food on it. Store raw and cooked foods separately in the refrigerator.
- Keep food surfaces and utensils clean. Clean surfaces before and after you prepare food. Use paper towels you can throw away or cloths you can wash between uses. Wash cutting boards and utensils after each use and before you prepare the next food.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before you eat or cook them. Use a vegetable brush to scrub firm items such as carrots and potatoes. Wash leafy greens such as lettuce. Pull heads of lettuce apart to wash inner leaves.
- Cook food thoroughly. Food is safely cooked when it reaches a temperature high enough to kill bacteria. Ask healthcare providers for more information on cooking food safely.
- Store food in the refrigerator. Put leftover food in the refrigerator as soon as possible. This can prevent food from spoiling and causing illness.
Follow up with your doctor or nephrologist 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.
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