What are the treatment options for encephalitis?

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The treatment of encephalitis is determined by its cause. Cases of encephalitis caused by bacterial infections may be treated using antibiotics. Encephalitis related to HIV may be treated with drugs designed to boost the immune system and slow the progression of encephalitis. Antivirals like acyclovir or ganciclovir may be used if a viral cause (such as herpes) is suspected. Many cases of encephalitis are difficult to treat. Doctors may prescribe medication to relieve pain and fever and to help alleviate other symptoms; for example, anticonvulsants may be used to prevent seizures, and corticosteroids for inflammation and swelling, especially in cases of autoimmune encephilitis. Doctors may recommend plasma exchange, or immune globulin treatment, for these cases of autoimmune encephilitis, which is encephilitis caused by the person's own immune system. In some cases there is little that can be done while  the disease takes its course over a week or two, aside from prescribing antiseizure medications and life support if necessary. Sedatives may help with restlessness or irritability. Fever and headache may be treated with over-the-counter medications. The value of rest and a well-balanced diet during the recovery of a mild case of encephalitis should not be underestimated.

Continue Learning about Viral Infections

Viral Infections

Viral Infections

Viral infections like herpes simplex, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), chicken pox and rotavirus are infections caused by a virus instead of a bacterium. Viral infections do not respond to antibiotics, but some specific viruses ...

like influenza A and B can be treated with certain antiviral medications. Most commonly, treatment for viral infections includes drinking lots of fluids, getting rest, eating well and letting the illness run its course.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.