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Histoplasmosis in Children
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Histoplasmosis is a fungal infection of your child's lungs. It is caused by breathing in soil that is infected with fungus. The fungus is most common in soil that contains bird and bat droppings.
Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:
- Your child has a seizure.
- Your child has trouble breathing.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your child is confused.
- Your child coughs up blood or thick, yellow, sputum.
- Your child's heart is beating faster than usual.
- Your child has a severe headache and a stiff neck.
Call your child's doctor if:
- Your child's symptoms get worse or do not get better in 2 weeks.
- Your child has a rash.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
Your child may need any of the following:
- Antifungals help treat an infection caused by fungus.
- Ibuprofen or acetaminophen: These medicines are given to decrease your child's pain and fever. They can be bought without a doctor's order. Ask how much medicine is safe to give your child, and how often to give it.
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and 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.
- Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
- 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 of 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.
Have your child rest as directed:
Your child may need to avoid strenuous activities such as sports and running until symptoms are gone. Ask your child's healthcare provider when he or she can return to normal activities. Your child cannot spread the infection to other people. Your child can usually return to school or daycare when he or she feels better.
Give your child plenty of liquids:
Ask how much liquid your child should drink each day and which liquids are best for him or her. Liquids can help your child recover and prevent dehydration.
Prevent another histoplasmosis infection:
Keep your child away from places where the fungus grows. This includes caves, barns, chicken coops, and under bridges. It also includes chimneys and attics. If your child has a weak immune system, he or she may need to take antifungal medicine to prevent another infection.
Prevent the spread of germs:
- Keep your child away from other people while he or she is sick. This is especially important during the first 3 to 5 days of illness.
- Have your child wash his or her hands often. He or she should wash after using the bathroom and before preparing or eating food. Have your child use soap and water. Show him or her how to rub soapy hands together, lacing the fingers. Wash the front and back of the hands, and in between the fingers. The fingers of one hand can scrub under the fingernails of the other hand. Teach your child to wash for at least 20 seconds. Use a timer, or sing a song that is at least 20 seconds. An example is the happy birthday song 2 times. Have your child rinse with warm, running water for several seconds. Then dry with a clean towel or paper towel. Your older child can use hand sanitizer with alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Remind your child to cover a sneeze or cough. Show your child how to use a tissue to cover his or her mouth and nose. Have your child throw the tissue away in a trash can right away. Then your child should wash his or her hands well or use a hand sanitizer. Show your child how to use the bend of his or her arm if a tissue is not available.
- Tell your child not to share items. Examples include toys, drinks, and food.
- Ask about vaccines your child needs. Vaccines help prevent some infections that cause disease. Have your child get a yearly flu vaccine as soon as recommended, usually in September or October. Your child's healthcare provider can tell you other vaccines your child should get, and when to get them.
Follow up with your child's doctor 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.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.