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Viral Encephalitis

Treatment Options

Antiviral medications may be prescribed as part of treatment. Anticonvulsants are used to prevent or treat seizures, and corticosteroids may be used to reduce brain swelling and inflammation from viral encephalitis. Sedatives may be needed for irritability or restlessness. Over-the-counter medications may be used for fever and headache. Individuals with viral encephalitis are usually hospitalized for treatment.
There are no human vaccines for viral encephalitis, except for a Japanese encephalitis vaccine that is available only to travelers. For horses, there are vaccines that can prevent many types of viral encephalitis.

Preventing Viral Encephalitis

Viral encephalitis can be prevented by reducing the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes and other insects. This is done by:
  • Staying indoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are active
  • Dressing in long sleeves and pants when outside
  • Wearing insect repellent containing at least 20 percent DEET when outdoors (always follow instructions when using repellent on children)
  • Eliminating mosquito breeding grounds by draining standing water in your yard and neighborhood.
Know the Signs - Concussion Safety

Types of Encephalitis

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