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How Can Endocarditis Be Prevented?

If you're at risk for infective endocarditis (IE), you can take steps to prevent the infection and its complications.

  • Be alert to the signs and symptoms of IE. Contact your doctor right away if you have any of these signs or symptoms, especially a persistent fever or unexplained fatigue (tiredness).
  • Brush and floss your teeth regularly, and have regular dental checkups. Germs from a gum infection can enter your bloodstream.
  • Avoid body piercing, tattoos, and other procedures that may allow germs to enter your bloodstream.

Research shows that not everyone at risk for IE needs to take antibiotics before routine dental exams and certain other dental and medical procedures.

Let your health care providers, including your dentist, know if you're at risk for IE. They can tell you whether you need antibiotics before exams and procedures.

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Last Updated: October 1, 2010