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Tuesday, 23 April 2019
Childhood Diseases

The following diseases can be more serious than many people think.  Some, in certain cases, can be potentially fatal.  Your child can, however, be protected by immunisation.

DIPHTHERIA is, due to immunisation, very uncommon in Britain these days but the risk of this potentially fatal disease still exists.  Diphtheria starts off with a sore throat which is followed by symptoms closely resembling a common cold.  It also causes the airways of the nose and throat to become blocked causing difficulty in breathing.

HIB (Haemophilus influenzae type B) is a bacterial infection which can cause a number of disease including bacterial meningitis, septicaemia, pneumonia and septic arthritis.  It is the serious nature of Hib which, in recent years, has made immunisation so important for the under fours.

MEASLES is very common and particularly infectious.  Like diphtheria it starts off like a common cold but the child quickly develops a temperature and a rash.  Measles can be very serious indeed leading to all manner of problems such as ENCEPHALITIS, which can cause brain damage, bronchitis and pneumonia.  Every year a number of children die from measles.

MUMPS is usually not a severe illness in itself.  It can, however, lead to very unpleasant complications such as viral meningitis in children.  Symptoms are usually restricted to a swelling under the jaw and behind and over the ears.  In the UK over 1,000 people a year are admitted to hospital with mumps.

POLIO has been eradicated in the UK by immunisation.  Increasing foreign travel, however, increases the risk of this disease being reintroduced via unprotected individuals.  It is a disease of the nervous system which has the effect of affecting muscular movement.  It can affect different muscle groups, for example those in the chest, causing difficulty in breathing, or those in the legs.  It may lead to permanent paralysis.

RUBELLA (German Measles) is a very mild illness with symptoms similar to the common cold together with a rash, initially on the face which rapidly spreads all over the body.  It is, however, highly dangerous to the unborn child and, therefore, it is especially important that pregnant women and those planning to become pregnant are protected.

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