Dr. M.J. Bazos, Patient Handout

About Your Diagnosis
Trichinosis is an infection caused by the larvae of a parasitic roundworm that lives in the intestines of pigs. It is transmitted to individuals when they
eat the meat of an infected animal and the meat has not been cooked well enough to kill the parasite. Within 2 days of eating infected meat, the parasite matures and the female burrows into the intestinal wall to produce living larvae. By the seventh day, they are carried into the bloodstream and live in the muscles. Trichinosis is curable with treatment. Complications can include congestive heart failure, respiratory failure, or kidney damage.

Living With Your Diagnosis
In the early stage of the infection, diarrhea, a lowgrade fever, nausea, and vomiting occur. Seven to 10 days later, the eyelids and face may become puffy. Muscle pain, headache, weakness, shortness of breath, high fever, and itching and burning of the skin also occur.

Medications to kill the parasite should be taken as prescribed by your doctor. Tylenol or tepid sponge baths can be used to reduce fever. You should rest in bed until the symptoms subside, and gradually resume normal activities. Maintaining proper nutrition is important. Your appetite will be decreased, so it may be helpful to eat small frequent meals.

The DOs
• Take the medication as directed.
• Bed rest is most important until symptoms are gone.
• Resume normal activities gradually after symptoms are gone.
• Use Tylenol for fever and pain.
• Maintain proper nutrition by eating small, frequent meals.
• Increase fluid intake to prevent dehydration.

The DON’Ts
• Don’t drive or operate heavy machinery while taking antiparasitic medications. Most of these can cause drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, or diarrhea.
• Don’t skip doses of the medication. Usually the course of medication is short, but if you cannot tolerate it notify your doctor.
• Don’t eat undercooked meat to prevent infections in the future.

When to Call Your Doctor
• If you are having side effects from the medication and cannot tolerate them.
• If you have a temperature of more than 104°F, shortness of breath, or an irregular heartbeat.

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