Monday, August 17, 2009

Warning Signs of Infection

A common side effect of immunosuppressive agents is increased susceptibility to infection. These drugs, such as kidney transplant medications, weaken the immune system to prevent rejection. Therefore, you must take precautions to avoid infection.

If you experience any of the following signs of infection and or rejection as mentioned here, you should notify your transplant coordinator immediately. They will be able to give you the proper instructions on what to do.

Here are common warning signs of infection.

1. Sore throat
2. Cough, cold or shortness of breath
3. Flu symptoms
4. Fever over 100°F or 37.8°C
5. Pain over transplant area
6. Gastrointestinal discomfort, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting
7. Skin irregularities like sores, redness, swelling, or wounds that don't heal
Looking after yourself and being careful often reduces the possiblity of getting infections. I remember my doc telling me what to watch out for. But the most important things that came out of his lips then was “use common sense.”

As transplantees, we should be wary of infections because when they occur, our body's immune system becomes active and sends out its soldiers to knock out that infection. During this process, our immune system goes into attack mode and is more vigilant to foreign substance, including our kidney, increasing the possibility of causing a rejection episode.

It is important to inform your transplant center when you notice these symptoms and not to just take any over-the-counter drug that other people take. Many over-the-counter drugs can harm our transplanted kidney.

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