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Risk of Infections

Risk of Infection | Catching a Cold | Preventing Infection | Infection Symptoms

Your immunosuppressant medications, which are necessary to prevent rejection of your transplanted organ, make it more difficult for your body to fight transplant infections. Symptoms such as a cough or fever, which may have gone away on their own before your transplant, can now be a warning sign of an infection. If you have any signs or symptoms of infection listed on the following page, you should call your coordinator immediately. We will recommend that you be seen by a doctor to determine if you have an infection, and if so, how you should be treated. Even if your doctor diagnoses and treats your infection, it is important that you inform your transplant coordinator.

Fever in a person taking immunosuppressant's is an important warning sign that there may be an infection or organ rejection. Even if your fever lasts only a few minutes, you need to contact your coordinator. If your fever is gone, that does not mean that the cause of the fever (may be transplant infection) is gone.

Check your temperature every morning for the first three months after your transplant and any time you feel ill, feel hot, or have shaking chills. You may use a glass mercury thermometer under your tongue (for 3 minutes) or electronic digital thermometer. If your temperature is 101°F (38.5°C), call your coordinator immediately. If your temperature is between 100° F (37.5°C) and 101°F (38.5° C) for 24 hours, call your coordinator. If you feel ill don't wait 24 hours before calling your coordinator, call your coordinator right away.

Your coordinator will advise you regarding your fever. You may be asked to go to your local hospital emergency department. The doctor seeing you should contact your coordinator to assure that all the necessary tests are ordered before you are discharged. These may include blood culture, urine culture, throat culture, a chest x-ray, and liver enzymes, as well as other tests. Your symptoms and physical condition will help decide what tests are necessary and identify transplant infections.

Remember to call coordinator of liver transplant program when any new medications are started. Do not take Tylenol (acetaminophen) or aspirin for a fever until you have called your coordinator. If you take Tylenol (acetaminophen) or aspirin while your temperature is mildly elevated (between 99°F and 100.9°F) it will lower the temperature and we will never know if the temperature would have gone up. Just because the fever is gone, the cause of the fever, usually infection, is not also gone.

After you have been examined by a doctor and have had the necessary tests to investigate the cause of the fever, you may take medicine such as Tylenol to lower your fever. Remember to drink extra fluids and rest if you have a fever. You may take Tylenol (acetaminophen) occasionally for muscle aches, headaches, etc. It should not be used on a regular basis, however. Remember to call your coordinator if you have an unrelieved headache or pain. Do not take Advil/Aleve/ibuprofen/Motrin or any other non-steroidal medications.

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