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West Nile Virus Infection
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
West Nile virus (WNV) is carried by mosquitoes. The virus spreads to humans when they are bitten by infected mosquitoes. The virus can be passed from one person to another through blood transfusions or organ transplants. An infected mother who is pregnant or breastfeeding may pass the virus to her child.
Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) or have someone call if:
- You become confused, act differently than usual, or become harder to wake than usual.
- You have shortness of breath.
Seek care immediately if:
- Your symptoms get worse or come back.
- You have a severe headache, stiff neck, or trouble thinking clearly.
- You have a seizure.
- You have weakness or cannot move a part of your body.
- You have difficulty swallowing or speaking, or you have double vision.
Call your doctor if:
- You have a fever.
- Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
- Your symptoms do not improve with treatment.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
You may need any of the following:
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) total of acetaminophen in one day.
- 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 if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
- Antibiotics may be needed if you have a bacterial infection in addition to your WNV infection.
- Antiviral medicine treats an infection caused by a virus.
- 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.
- Rest as needed. Start to do more each day as you feel better.
- Drink liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.
- Rehabilitation may be recommended 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 mosquito contact:
- Avoid mosquito bites:
- Use an insect repellant that contains the active ingredient DEET on your clothing and exposed skin. Ask about other insect repellants to prevent bites. Use repellants with 30% DEET or less on infants younger than 2 months. 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. Repair screens that have holes in them.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to keep your skin covered.
- Control 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.
Follow up with your doctor as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
For 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/
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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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