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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Viral encephalitis is inflammation of the brain due to a viral infection. It may also be caused by an infection in another part of your body, which can later lead to encephalitis.
- Antiviral medicine: These treat infections that are caused by a virus.
- Steroids: These decrease swelling in your brain.
- 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.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Rest: Rest when you feel it is needed. Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.
- Rehabilitation: After you recover, you may need physical, occupational, or speech therapy. These may help to improve movement, decrease pain, maintain daily activities, and improve your ability to eat or speak.
Prevent viral encephalitis:
- Prevent bites from mosquitoes and ticks:
- Use an insect repellant that contains DEET (active ingredient) on your clothing and exposed skin. Ask about other insect repellants to prevent bites. Use repellants with 30% DEET or less on infants who are younger than 2 months old. Follow the instructions on the label when you use an insect repellant. Do not use DEET on the hands of young children or on babies who may rub their eyes or mouth.
- Do not go outside at sunrise and sunset, when mosquitoes are most active. If you sleep outdoors, use a mosquito net.
- Put screens on all windows and outside doors of your house, and repair screens that have holes in them.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to keep your skin covered.
- Clear dead trees and brush away from where you live. This may help to decrease ticks.
- Decrease mosquito breeding: Get rid of places where water can stand and mosquitoes can live:
- Do not leave containers that can collect water, such as buckets or wheelbarrows, in an uncovered or upright position.
- Change water in animal feeders every few days.
- Regularly check ponds, birdbaths, animal feeders, drinking troughs, and other bodies of standing water.
- Drain or pump out standing water around your house, such as in clogged gutters and ditches.
- Decrease exposure to viruses that cause encephalitis: Stay away from people who have colds or the flu. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently.
- Get vaccinated: Vaccines for influenza, measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, and polio can help prevent an infection. A flu shot lasts for 1 year and is usually given in October and November. A vaccine against the Japanese encephalitis virus is also available. Ask which vaccinations are right for you. Make sure your pet is vaccinated against rabies. If you work with animals, or have been recently bitten, you may need a rabies shot.
For support and more information:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta , GA 30333
Phone: 1- 800 - 232-4636
Web Address: http://www.cdc.gov/
Contact your primary healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever.
- Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- Your symptoms get worse or come back.
- You become confused, act differently than normal, or become harder to wake up than normal.
- You have a bad headache, stiff neck, or trouble thinking clearly.
- You have a seizure.
- You have sudden trouble breathing.
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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.