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What are the Different Types of Encephalitis Treatments?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2016
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The types of encephalitis treatments used typically depend on the severity of each individual case. People who have mild encephalitis are normally advised to get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, and take pain-relieving, fever-reducing medicine. Antiviral drugs, such as ganciclovir or acyclovir, are encephalitis treatments frequently used for more severe cases of the virus. Sometimes encephalitis causes swelling around the outside of the skull, and anti-inflammatory drugs might occasionally help with that. People who experience seizures as a result of encephalitis might have to take anti-convulsant medicines.

Encephalitis is a virus that directly attacks the brain and spinal cord. As with most viruses, encephalitis generally has to run its course before it goes away, although antiviral drugs may help to shorten the duration of the illness. Encephalitis is often the result of another virus being present in the body, such as herpes. Sometimes people get encephalitis because it was passed to them after they were bitten by a flea, tick, or mosquito. Encephalitis is also occasionally a side effect of illnesses that tend to affect children, such as the measles or mumps.

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Many people who get encephalitis never realize they have it because their symptoms may be minor. Even though the virus is usually minor, it can be life-threatening. Severe encephalitis can cause coma, respiratory failure, and death. There are two types of encephalitis: primary and secondary. With primary encephalitis, the virus attacks the brain directly, and with secondary encephalitis, the virus starts in another part of the body and travels to the brain.

A person who suspects she may have encephalitis should see her doctor immediately because, the earlier encephalitis treatments are received, the better chance there is for complete recovery. The initial symptoms of encephalitis typically mimic the flu, and a person who experiences them might feel lethargic with a fever and severe pain in the joints. When encephalitis begins to worsen, a person might start experiencing hallucinations and seizures. Babies who get encephalitis often have raised areas in the skin covering the soft spots on their skulls due to brain inflammation.

Doctors can determine which encephalitis treatments are needed after first confirming that a patient has the virus. Blood testing, brain imaging, and a spinal tap are all common ways in which doctors diagnose encephalitis. Once the diagnosis is made, treatment for the virus can begin. Minor encephalitis normally goes away within a week, but more serious forms of the virus can continue to cause a person problems for years.

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