This material must not be used for commercial purposes, or in any hospital or medical facility. Failure to comply may result in legal action.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Rabies is a disease that affects the body's central nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves). Rabies is caused by a virus. You may get the virus if you come into contact with the saliva or other tissue of an infected animal. Rabies infection usually happens through a bite wound. Animals that may spread rabies include dogs, cats, coyotes, raccoons, foxes, skunks, and bats. Rabies develops when the virus enters the skin and goes to the muscles or nerves.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
Isolation safety measures
may be needed to prevent you from spreading the rabies virus. Healthcare providers and visitors may need to wear gloves, a face mask, or a gown. Visitors should wash their hands before leaving.
A heart monitor
is an EKG that stays on continuously to record your heart's electrical activity.
, or neuro checks, show healthcare providers your brain function. They will check how your pupils react to light. They may check your memory and how easily you wake up. Your hand grasp and balance may also be tested.
- The rabies vaccine is given to help your body make antibodies to fight the virus and help prevent rabies. The vaccine may be given before healthcare providers know that you have been exposed to rabies. It also can be given when they learn that you have been exposed to rabies.
- Rabies immune globulin (RIG) will attack the virus and help your immune system fight the infection. You will not be given RIG if you had at least 1 rabies vaccine dose in the past.
- Anticonvulsant medicine is given to help control seizures.
- Antivirals help treat a viral infection.
- Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
- Steroids help decrease inflammation.
If you have a bite wound, healthcare providers will clean it and do other treatments if needed. Your risk for infection and rabies decreases if your wound is cleaned soon after you are bitten. The wound may be closed with stitches.
- You may need extra oxygen if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.
- A ventilator is a machine that gives you oxygen and breathes for you when you cannot breathe well on your own. An endotracheal (ET) tube is put into your mouth or nose and attached to the ventilator. You may need a trach if an ET tube cannot be placed. A trach is a tube put through an incision and into your windpipe.
- A biopsy is used to test a skin sample for the cause of your symptoms. A skin sample is usually taken from the back of the neck.
- Blood tests may show organ function or get information about your overall health.
- A culture is a test to grow and identify the germ that is causing your illness. Samples may be taken from your saliva, tears, or fluid in the brain and spine.
- A lumbar puncture , or spinal tap, may be done to check the fluid around your brain and spinal cord for the rabies virus.
- A CT or MRI may be used to check for signs of swelling or infection in your brain.
Without early treatment, rabies damages the brain and other organs. You may have brain swelling, seizures, and paralysis. Rabies can be life-threatening.
CARE AGREEMENT:You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 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 IBM Watson Health
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.