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Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Vancomycin resistant enterococcus (VRE) is a strain of bacteria that can cause infection. Usually the antibiotic vancomycin is used to kill the bacteria. However, VRE is resistant to vancomycin and makes it difficult to treat. VRE most commonly causes an infection in the urinary tract, blood, or a wound. VRE infection can easily be spread from person to person. It most often occurs in hospitals.
Call 911 for any of the following:
- You have shortness of breath or trouble breathing.
Seek care immediately if:
- You feel weak, dizzy, or confused.
- Your heart is beating faster than usual.
- You have severe pain.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever.
- You have new symptoms.
- Your symptoms do not improve with treatment.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
- Antibiotics help kill the bacteria that caused your VRE infection.
- 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.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Prevent the spread of VRE:
Do the following if you or someone you care for has an active VRE infection:
- Wash your hands often. This is the most important thing you can do to prevent the spread of infection. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom or touch body fluids such as urine or bowel movement. Wash your hands after you clean an infected wound or change the bandage. Wash your hands before you prepare or eat food. Carry germ-killing gel with you and use it to clean your hands when you do not have soap and water. Tell others to wash your hands after they visit you.
- Wear disposable gloves when you clean a wound, change a bandage, or handle body fluids. Do this if you care for someone with an active VRE infection. If you are infected with VRE, you do not need to wear gloves. Instead, make sure you wash your hands often. Throw away gloves after you use them. Put on a new pair with each task. Never use the same pair of gloves.
- Clean bathroom surfaces daily. This includes the counter, bathtub, and shower. Use a bleach-based cleaner. You can also create a cleaning solution by mixing 1 part bleach to 10 parts water.
- Tell all healthcare providers that you have a VRE infection. Healthcare providers will place you in a private hospital room to prevent the spread of infection to others.
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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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