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First Aid & Emergencies

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Anthrax Treatment

Early symptoms depend on the type of exposure:

  • Cutaneous (skin) anthrax can show up immediately as an itchy bump that turns into a sore and then a painless ulcer with a black center.
  • Digestive anthrax symptoms include nausea, loss of appetite, bloody diarrhea, and stomach pain.
  • Inhaled anthrax symptoms are similar to flu and can include fever, muscle aches, headache, cough, and fatigue.

1. See a Health Care Provider Immediately

2. Follow Up

Once you see a health care provider, the next steps depend on the particular case.

  • If the person has been exposed to anthrax but doesn't have symptoms, a health care provider will give an anthrax vaccine and prescribe antibiotics.
  • If the anthrax case is serious, the person will be hospitalized. And, given antibiotics, anthrax antitoxins and other aggressive, supportive therapy.
  • If you have any reason to believe that anthrax exposure is linked to foul play, contact local law enforcement immediately.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Scott Keller, MD on November 17, 2013

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