Tag Archives: Measles

Croup

Alternative Names: Viral croup; Laryngotracheobronchitis – acute; Spasmodic croup

Definition:
Croup  is a respiratory condition that is usually triggered by an acute viral infection of the upper airway. The infection leads to swelling inside the throat, which interferes with normal breathing and produces the classical symptoms of a “barking” cough, stridor, and hoarseness. It may produce mild, moderate, or severe symptoms, which often worsen at night.

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The barking cough of croup is the result of inflammation around the vocal cords (larynx) and windpipe (trachea). When the cough reflex forces air through this narrowed passage, the vocal cords vibrate with a barking noise. Because children have small airways to begin with, those younger than age 5 are most susceptible to having more-marked symptoms with croup.

Croup typically occurs between the ages of six months and six years, but the peak age is two and it’s less common after three. Children with asthma may get repeated episodes.

Croup usually isn’t serious. Most cases of croup can be treated at home. Sometimes, your child will need prescription medication.

Once due primarily to diphtheria, this cause is now primarily of historical significance in the Western world due to the success of vaccination.

Croup affects about 15% of children, and usually presents between the ages of 6 months and 5–6 years. It accounts for about 5% of hospital admissions in this population. In rare cases, it may occur in children as young as 3 months and as old as 15 years. Males are affected 50% more frequently than are females, and there is an increased prevalence in autumn (fall).

History:
The word croup comes from the Early Modern English verb croup, meaning “to cry hoarsely”; the name was first applied to the disease in Scotland and popularized in the 18th century. Diphtheritic croup has been known since the time of Homer’s Ancient Greece and it was not until 1826 that viral croup was differentiated from croup due to diphtheria by Bretonneau. Viral croup was thus called “faux-croup” by the French, as “croup” then referred to a disease caused by the diphtheria bacteria. Croup due to diphtheria has become nearly unknown due to the advent of effective immunization

Symptoms:
Croup is characterized by a “barking” cough, stridor, hoarseness, and difficult breathing which usually worsens at night. The “barking” cough is often described as resembling the call of a seal or sea lion.

As the cough gets more frequent, the child may have labored breathing or stridor (a harsh, crowing noise made during inspiration).The stridor is worsened by agitation or crying, and if it can be heard at rest, it may indicate critical narrowing of the airways. As croup worsens, stridor may decrease considerably.

Other symptoms include fever, coryza (symptoms typical of the common cold), and chest wall indrawing. Drooling or a very sick appearance indicate other medical conditions

Rarely, croup can last for weeks. Croup that lasts longer than a week or recurs frequently should be discussed with your doctor to determine the cause.

Causes:
Viral croup is the most common. Other possible causes include bacteria, allergies, and inhaled irritants. Acid reflux from the stomach can trigger croup.

Croup is usually (75% of the time) caused by parainfluenza viruses, but RSV, measles, adenovirus, and influenza can all cause croup.

Before the era of immunizations and antibiotics, croup was a dreaded and deadly disease, usually caused by the diphtheria bacteria. Today, most cases of croup are mild. Nevertheless, it can still be dangerous.

Croup tends to appear in children between 3 months and 5 years old, but it can happen at any age. Some children are prone to croup and may get it several times.

In the northern hemisphere, it is most common between October and March, but can occur at any time of the year.

In severe cases of croup, there may also be a bacterial superinfection of the upper airway. This condition is called bacterial tracheitis and requires hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics. If the epiglottis becomes infected, the entire windpipe can swell shut, a potentially fatal condition called epiglottitis.

Diagnosis:
Croup is a clinical diagnosis. The first step is to exclude other obstructive conditions of the upper airway, especially epiglottitis, an airway foreign body, subglottic stenosis, angioedema, retropharyngeal abscess, and bacterial tracheitis.

A frontal X-ray of the neck is not routinely performed, but if it is done, it may show a characteristic narrowing of the trachea, called the steeple sign. The steeple sign is suggestive of the diagnosis, but is absent in half of cases.

Other investigations (such as blood tests and viral culture) are discouraged as they may cause unnecessary agitation and thus worsen the stress on the compromised airway. While viral cultures, obtained via nasopharyngeal aspiration, can be used to confirm the exact cause, these are usually restricted to research settings. Bacterial infection should be considered if a person does not improve with standard treatment, at which point further investigations may be indicated

Severity:
The most commonly used system for classifying the severity of croup is the Westley score. It is primarily used for research purposes rather than in clinical practice. It is the sum of points assigned for five factors: level of consciousness, cyanosis, stridor, air entry, and retractions.The points given for each factor is listed in the table to the right, and the final score ranges from 0 to 17.

*A total score of ? 2 indicates mild croup. The characteristic barking cough and hoarseness may be present, but there is no stridor at rest.
*A total score of 3–5 is classified as moderate croup. It presents with easily heard stridor, but with few other signs.
*A total score of 6–11 is severe croup. It also presents with obvious stridor, but also features marked chest wall indrawing.
*A total score of ? 12 indicates impending respiratory failure. The barking cough and stridor may no longer be prominent at this stage.
85% of children presenting to the emergency department have mild disease; severe croup is rare (<1%).

Treatment :-
Most cases of croup can be safely managed at home, but call your health care provider for guidance, even in the middle of the night.

Cool or moist air might bring relief. You might first try bringing the child into a steamy bathroom or outside into the cool night air. If you have a cool air vaporizer, set it up in the child’s bedroom and use it for the next few nights.

Acetaminophen can make the child more comfortable and lower a fever, lessening his or her breathing needs. Avoid cough medicines unless you discuss them with your doctor first.

You may want your child to be seen. Steroid medicines can be very effective at promptly relieving the symptoms of croup. Medicated aerosol treatments, if necessary, are also powerful.

Serious illness requires hospitalization. Increasing or persistent breathing difficulty, fatigue, bluish coloration of the skin, or dehydration indicates the need for medical attention or hospitalization.

Medications are used to help reduce upper airway swelling. This may include aerosolized racemic epinephrine, corticosteroids taken by mouth, such as dexamethasone and prednisone, and inhaled or injected forms of other corticosteroids. Oxygen and humidity may be provided in an oxygen tent placed over a crib. A bacterial infection requires antibiotic therapy.

Increasing obstruction of the airway requires intubation (placing a tube through the nose or mouth through the larynx into the main air passage to the lungs). Intravenous fluids are given for dehydration. In some cases, corticosteroids are prescribed.

Alternative Treatments :-
Since most croup cases are mild in severity, over the counter treatments are often used. These treatments include ointments such as Vick’s or other menthol creams. These often are used to open up the airways. Other over the counter treatments include humidifiers to keep the humidity up in a room and lessen the chances of the airways becoming further inflamed or irritated.

Other methods of breaking croup attacks include hot shower exposure and cold air exposure. In the hot shower method, the shower is used as a sauna, in that the shower is running but people sit outside of it, taking in the warm, humid air. This method can be very effective when used in ten minute increments. Cuddling or reading to the child can limit the stress that is on the child during such a treatment. Cold or cool air exposure is another very effective alternative treatment. This method of treatment relies on the idea that the inflamed tissues will cool and shrink when exposed to cool air. Since most croup cases occur during the fall or winter seasons, this is often achieved simply by going outside or driving with the windows rolled down.

Lifestyle and home remedies:
Croup often runs its course within three to seven days. In the meantime, keep your child comfortable with a few simple measures.

*Stay calm. Comfort or distract your child — cuddle, read a book or play a quiet game. Crying makes breathing more difficult.

*Moisten the air. Use a cool-air humidifier in your child’s bedroom or have your child breathe the warm, moist air in a steamy bathroom. Although researchers have questioned the benefits of humidity as part of emergency treatment for croup, moist air seems to help children breathe easier — especially when croup is mild.

*Get cool. Sometimes breathing fresh, cool air helps. If it’s cool outdoors, wrap your child in a blanket and walk outside for a few minutes.

*Hold your child in an upright position. Sitting upright can make breathing easier. Hold your child on your lap, or place your child in a favorite chair or infant seat.

*Offer fluids. For babies, water, breast milk or formula is fine. For older children, soup or frozen fruit pops may be soothing.

*Encourage resting. Sleep can help your child fight the infection.

*Try an over-the-counter pain reliever. If your child has a fever, acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) may help. Cough syrup, which doesn’t affect the larynx or trachea, isn’t likely to relieve your child’s cough. Over-the-counter cold preparations are not recommended for children younger than age 5.

Your child’s cough may improve during the day, but don’t be surprised if it returns at night. You may want to sleep near your child or even in the same room so that you can take quick action if your child’s symptoms become severe.

Prognosis:
Viral croup is usually a self-limited disease, but can very rarely result in death from respiratory failure and/or cardiac arrest. Symptoms usually improve within two days, but may last for up to seven days. Other uncommon complications include bacterial tracheitis, pneumonia, and pulmonary edema

Prevention:
To prevent croup, take the same steps you use to prevent colds and flu. Frequent hand washing is most important. Also keep your child away from anyone who’s sick, and encourage your child to cough or sneeze into his or her elbow.

To stave off more-serious infections, keep your child’s immunizations current. The diphtheria, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and measles vaccines offer protection from some of the rarest — but most dangerous — forms of upper airway infection.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/croup2.shtml
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/croup/DS00312
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croup
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003215.htm

http://modernmedicalguide.com/croup-acute-spasmodic-laryngitis/

http://savingmommymoney.com/croup-symptoms-and-cure

http://www.methodsofhealing.com/Healing_Conditions/croup/

http://www.sciencephoto.com/images/download_lo_res.html?id=770500647

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Ear Infection

Alternative Names: Otitis media – acute; Infection – inner ear; Middle ear infection – acute
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Definition:
Ear infections are one of the most common reasons parents take their children to the doctor. While there are different types of ear infections, the most common is called otitis media, which means an inflammation and infection of the middle ear. The middle ear is located just behind the eardrum.

There are two types of ear infection…Acute & Cronic.

The term “acute” refers to a short and painful episode. An ear infection that lasts a long time or comes and goes is called chronic otitis media.

You may click to learn more about ear infection:

Symptoms
An acute ear infection causes pain (earache). In infants, the clearest sign is often irritability and inconsolable crying. Many infants and children develop a fever or have trouble sleeping. Parents often think that tugging on the ear is a symptom of an ear infection, but studies have shown that the same number of children going to the doctor tug on the ear whether or not the ear is infected.

CLICK & SEE:->

Common Ear Infection

Acute Ear Infection

Cronic Ear Infection

Ear Infection of Bone

Other possible symptoms include:
*Fullness in the ear
*Feeling of general illness
*Vomiting
*Diarrhea
*Hearing loss in the affected ear
*The child may have symptoms of a cold, or the ear infection may start shortly after having a cold.

All acute ear infections include fluid behind the eardrum. You can use an electronic ear monitor, such as EarCheck, to detect this fluid at home. The device is available at pharmacies.

Possible Causes:
Ear infections are common in infants and children in part because their eustachian tubes become clogged easily. For each ear, a eustachian tube runs from the middle ear to the back of the throat. Its purpose is to drain fluid and bacteria that normally occurs in the middle ear. If the eustachian tube becomes blocked, fluid can build up and become infected.
Anything that causes the eustachian tubes and upper airways to become inflamed or irritated, or cause more fluids to be produced, can lead to a blocked eustachian tube. These include:

*Colds and sinus infections
*Allergies
*Tobacco smoke or other irritants
*Infected or overgrown adenoids
*Excess mucus and saliva produced during teething

Ear infections are also more likely if a child spends a lot of time drinking from a sippy cup or bottle while lying on his or her back. Contrary to popular opinion, getting water in the ears will not cause an acute ear infection, unless the eardrum has a hole from a previous episode.

Ear infections occur most frequently in the winter. An ear infection is not itself contagious, but a cold may spread among children and cause some of them to get ear infections.

Risk factors:

*Not being breast-fed
*Recent ear infection
*Recent illness of any type (lowers resistance of the body to infection)
*Day care (especially with more than 6 children)
*Pacifier use
*Genetic factors (susceptibility to infection may run in families)
*Changes in altitude or climate
*Cold climate
*Sudden change of weather

Diagnosis:

Signs and tests
The doctor will ask questions about whether your child (or you) have had ear infections in the past and will want you to describe the current symptoms, including whether your child has had any symptoms of a cold or allergies recently. Your doctor will examine your child’s throat, sinuses, head, neck, and lungs.

Using an instrument called an otoscope, the doctor will look inside your child’s ears. If infected, there may be areas of dullness or redness or there may be air bubbles or fluid behind the eardrum. The fluid may be bloody or purulent (filled with pus). The physician will also check for any sign of perforation (hole or holes) in the eardrum.

A hearing test may be recommended if your child has had persistent (chronic and recurrent) ear infections

Modern  Treatment
The goals for treating ear infections include relieving pain, curing the infection, preventing complications, and preventing recurrent ear infections. Most ear infections will safely clear up on their own without antibiotics. Often, treating the pain and allowing the body time to heal itself is all that is needed:

*Apply a warm cloth or warm water bottle.
*Use over-the-counter pain relief drops for ears.
*Take over-the counter medications for pain or fever, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. DO NOT give aspirin to children.
*Use prescription ear drops to relieve pain.

ANTIBIOTICS
Some ear infections require antibiotics to clear the infection and to prevent them from becoming worse. This is more likely if the child is under age 2, has a fever, is acting sick (beyond just the ear), or is not improving over 24 to 48 hours.

However, for several years there was a tendency to over-prescribe antibiotics, leading to the increasing numbers of bacteria that are resistant to these drugs. Joint guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians are aimed at using antibiotics for ear infections when they are most needed. If the antibiotics do not seem to be working within 48 to 72 hours, contact your doctor to consider switching to a stronger antibiotic. Usually there is no benefit to more than two, or at the most three, rounds of appropriate antibiotics.

SURGERY
If there is fluid in the middle ear and the condition persists, even with antibiotic treatment, a healthcare provider may recommend myringotomy (surgical opening of the eardrum) to relieve pressure and allow drainage of the fluid. This may or may not involve the insertion of tympanostomy tubes (often referred to as ear tubes). In this procedure, a tiny tube is inserted into the eardrum, keeping open a small hole that allows air to get in so fluids can drain more easily down the eustachian tube. Tympanostomy tube insertion is done under general anesthesia. Usually the tubes fall out by themselves. Those that don’t may be removed in your doctor’s office.

If the adenoids are enlarged, surgical removal may be considered, especially if you have chronic, recurrent ear infections. Removing tonsils does not seem to help with ear infections.

ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT:
Click to see:
Alternative Treatment for Ear Infections :
Alternative to Tubes for Ear Infection Treatment:
Natural Cures For an Ear Infection – More Than Home Remedies:

Prognosis:
Ear infections are curable with treatment but may recur. They are not life threatening but may be quite painful.

Prevention:
What can kids do to prevent ear infections? You can avoid places where people are smoking, for one. Cigarette smoke can keep your eustachian tubes from working properly.
You can reduce your child’s risk of ear infections with the following practices:

*Wash hands and toys frequently. Also, day care with 6 or fewer children can lessen your child’s chances of getting a cold or similar infection. This leads to fewer ear infections.
*Avoid pacifiers, especially at daycare.
*Breastfeed — this makes a child much less prone to ear infections. But, if bottle feeding, hold your infant in an upright, seated position.
*Don’t expose your child to secondhand smoke.
*The pneumococcal vaccine prevents infections from the organism that most commonly causes acute ear infections and many respiratory infections.
*Some evidence suggests that xylitol, a natural sweetener, may reduce ear infections.
*Avoid overusing antibiotics.

Click to see:
Taking Care of Your Ears;
What’s Earwax?;
What’s Hearing Loss?

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://kidshealth.org/kid/ill_injure/sick/ear_infection.html
http://healthtools.aarp.org/adamcontent/ear-infection-acute?CMP=KNC-360i-GOOGLE-HEA&HBX_OU=50&HBX_PK=ear_infection_acute
http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/ear-infection-acute/overview.html

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Some Health Quaries & Answers

My wifw eats bricks

Q: When my wife and I visited the Taj Mahal we bought a souvenir, a replica of the Taj made of chalk. It disappeared a few days after we returned. My wife finally confessed to having eaten the whole thing! Then I discovered that she has also been eating uncooked rice and occasionally red bricks too from the housing construction next door. I realise she needs help. Should I go to a psychiatrist?

A: Your wife has “pica”, a craving to eat things not normally considered food. People eat clay, chalk, mud and brick. Pica is an uncontrollable habit, so you’ll have to watch her for some time as she might resort to hiding the fact that she’s still eating non-food items. The urge is uncontrollable even though she knows it is wrong. It is often due to mineral deficiency. It is not a psychiatric problem. Consult a physician. She probably needs antihelminthics (de-worming), and supplements of iron, calcium and zinc.

Doggy pain..

Q: I take my Labrador for a walk in the mornings. He is exuberant, poorly trained and pulls on his leash. Of late I have noticed that my right hand tingles while holding the leash and that this sensation also wakes me up at night. The fingers are often stiff in the morning.

A: Your regular walk probably keeps you fit and provides you with the required amount of exercise. However, if the dog’s personality is as described, you need to take some precautions to prevent injury. Keep the dog on a short leash — holding it firmly at the distance of about one and a half feet, even if the leash is longer. Wear wrist guards and elbow guards. This will prevent injury due to sudden pulls and tugs.

The symptoms you describe sound like “carpal tunnel syndrome” where one of the nerves to the hand is trapped in the ligaments and bones at the wrist. It may have occurred due to injury while controlling the dog. It is better to see an orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in hand injuries.

Measles rash?

Q: My one-year-old son developed fever and the doctor prescribed amoxicillin. After three days of he developed red rashes all over the body. My mother says it is measles but he is immunised.

A: Measles immunisation is given at the age of nine months. At that time antibodies, transferred from the mother through the placenta, are present but waning. If there is a high level of maternal antibodies, the vaccine may not produce a satisfactory response. This is the reason for a booster, which is given as the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine at 15 months. Once this is also given the immunity is almost 100 per cent.

All rashes are not due to measles. Other viral infections can also lead to rashes. Amoxicillin causes non-specific red rashes in some people. Allergies can also cause rashes, in which case there will be associated itching.

Ulcer baby…..

Q: My baby is 10 months old and has developed severe ulcers in the mouth. My doctor says it is due to herpes infection. I always thought that herpes was a sexually transmitted disease.

A: Herpes is the name given to a group of viruses. Different viruses from this group can cause various diseases like chicken pox, ulcers in the mouth or herpes progenitalis. These ulcers are painful. So the baby may find it difficult to swallow. The doctor will usually prescribe some local treatment and antiviral medication.

Although this infection occurs in a large number of children, it is less common in those who are not bottle fed or given pacifiers.

Chikungunya

Q: I had a chikungunya infection about six months ago but my ankles still hurt. I find locomotion difficult as there are sudden attacks of excruciating pain.

A: Unfortunately a chikungunya infection has a long lasting impact in some people. The joint pain either persists or keeps flaring up unexpectedly intermittently for as long as two years. When there is pain apply a capsaicin-containing ointment locally, then place ice on the joint as a cold compress, alternate it with heat from a hot water bottle, have physiotherapy and use analgesics for pain relief.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Rubella (German Measles)

Transmission electron micrograph of rubella virus.

Image via Wikipedia

 

Definition:
Rubella — commonly known as German measles or 3-day measles — is an infection that primarily affects the skin and lymph nodes. It is caused by the rubella virus (not the same virus that causes measles), which is usually transmitted by droplets from the nose or throat that others breathe in. It can also pass through a pregnant woman‘s bloodstream to infect her unborn child. As this is a generally mild disease in children, the primary medical danger of rubella is the infection of pregnant women, which may cause congenital rubella syndrome in developing babies.

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It is a disease caused by Rubella virus. The name is derived from the Latin, meaning little red. Rubella is also known as German measles because the disease was first described by German physicians in the mid-eighteenth century. This disease is often mild and attacks often pass unnoticed. The disease can last one to five days. Children recover more quickly than adults. Infection of the mother by Rubella virus during pregnancy can be serious; if the mother is infected within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, the child may be born with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), which entails a range of serious incurable illnesses. Spontaneous abortion occurs in up to 20% of cases.

Rubella is a common childhood infection usually with minimal systemic upset although transient arthropathy may occur in adults. Serious complications are very rare. If it were not for the effects of transplacental infection on the developing foetus, rubella is a relatively trivial infection.

Acquired, (i.e. not congenital), rubella is transmitted via airborne droplet emission from the upper respiratory tract of active cases. The virus may also be present in the urine, faeces and on the skin. There is no carrier state: the reservoir exists entirely in active human cases. The disease has an incubation period of 2 to 3 weeks.

In most people the virus is rapidly eliminated. However, it may persist for some months post partum in infants surviving the CRS. These children were an important source of infection to other infants and, more importantly, pregnant female contacts

Before a vaccine against rubella became available in 1969, rubella epidemics occurred every 6 to 9 years. Kids ages 5 to 9 were primarily affected, and many cases of congenital rubella occurred as well. Now, due to immunization of children, there are much fewer cases of rubella and congenital rubella.

Most rubella infections today appear in young, non-immunized adults rather than children. In fact, experts estimate that 10% of young adults are currently susceptible to rubella, which could pose a danger to any children they might have someday.

Signs and Symptoms:

After an incubation period of 14-21 days, the primary symptom of rubella virus infection is the appearance of a rash (exanthem) on the face which spreads to the trunk and limbs and usually fades after three days. Other symptoms include low grade fever, swollen glands (post cervical lymphadenopathy), joint pains, headache, conjunctivitis. The swollen glands or lymph nodes can persist for up to a week and the fever rarely rises above 38 oC (100.4 oF). The rash disappears after a few days with no staining or peeling of the skin. Forchheimer’s sign occurs in 20% of cases, and is characterized by small, red papules on the area of the soft palate.

Rubella can affect anyone of any age and is generally a mild disease, rare in infants or those over the age of 40. The older the person is the more severe the symptoms are likely to be. Up to one-third of older girls or women experience joint pain or arthritic type symptoms with rubella. The virus is contracted through the respiratory tract and has an incubation period of 2 to 3 weeks. During this incubation period, the carrier is contagious but may show no symptoms.

The rubella rash can look like many other viral rashes. It appears as either pink or light red spots, which may merge to form evenly colored patches. The rash can itch and lasts up to 3 days. As the rash clears, the affected skin occasionally sheds in very fine flakes.

Other symptoms of rubella, which are more common in teens and adults, may include: headache; loss of appetite; mild conjunctivitis (inflammation of the lining of the eyelids and eyeballs); a stuffy or runny nose; swollen lymph nodes in other parts of the body; and pain and swelling in the joints (especially in young women). Many people with rubella have few or no symptoms at all.

When rubella occurs in a pregnant woman, it may cause congenital rubella syndrome, with potentially devastating consequences for the developing fetus. Children who are infected with rubella before birth are at risk for growth retardation; mental retardation; malformations of the heart and eyes; deafness; and liver, spleen, and bone marrow problems.

Congenital Rubella Syndrome:

Rubella can cause congenital rubella syndrome in the newly born. The syndrome (CRS) follows intrauterine infection by Rubella virus and comprises cardiac, cerebral, ophthalmic and auditory defects. It may also cause prematurity, low birth weight, and neonatal thrombocytopenia, anaemia and hepatitis. The risk of major defects or organogenesis is highest for infection in the first trimester. CRS is the main reason a vaccine for rubella was developed. Many mothers who contract rubella within the first critical trimester either have a miscarriage or a still born baby. If the baby survives the infection, it can be born with severe heart disorders (PDA being the most common), blindness, deafness, or other life threatening organ disorders. The skin manifestations are called “blueberry muffin lesions.

Cause:
The disease is caused by Rubella virus, a togavirus that is enveloped and has a single-stranded RNA genome. The virus is transmitted by the respiratory route and replicates in the nasopharynx and lymph nodes. The virus is found in the blood 5 to 7 days after infection and spreads throughout the body. It is capable of crossing the placenta and infecting the fetus where it stops cells from developing or destroys them.

The cause of rubella is a virus that’s passed from person to person. It can spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or it can spread by direct contact with an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as mucus. It can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her unborn child. A person with rubella is contagious from one week before the onset of the rash until about one to two weeks after the rash disappears.

Rubella is rare in the United States because most children receive a vaccination against the infection at an early age. However, cases of rubella do occur, mostly in unvaccinated foreign-born adults.

The disease is still common in many parts of the world, although more than half of all countries now use a rubella vaccine. The prevalence of rubella in some other countries is something to consider before going abroad, especially if you’re pregnant.

Contagiousness:
The rubella virus passes from person to person through tiny drops of fluid from the nose and throat. People who have rubella are most contagious from 1 week before to 1 week after the rash appears. Someone who is infected but has no symptoms can still spread the virus.

Infants who have congenital rubella syndrome can shed the virus in urine and fluid from the nose and throat for a year or more and may pass the virus to people who have not been immunized.

Diagnosis:
Rubella virus specific IgM antibodies are present in people recently infected by Rubella virus but these antibodies can persist for over a year and a positive test result needs to be interpreted with caution. The presence of these antibodies along with, or a short time after, the characteristic rash confirms the diagnosis.

Complications:
Rubella is a mild infection. Once you’ve had the disease, you’re usually permanently immune. About 70 percent of adult women with rubella experience arthritis in the fingers, wrists and knees, which generally lasts for about one month. In rare cases, rubella can cause an ear infection (otitis media) or inflammation of the brain (encephalitis).

However, if you’re pregnant when you contract rubella, the consequences for your unborn child may be severe. Up to 85 percent of infants born to mothers who had rubella during the first 11 weeks of pregnancy develop congenital rubella syndrome. This can cause one or more problems, including growth retardation, cataracts, deafness, congenital heart defects and defects in other organs. The highest risk to the fetus is during the first trimester, but exposure later in pregnancy also is dangerous.

Fortunately, an average of fewer than 10 babies are born with congenital rubella syndrome in the United States each year. Rubella occurs most frequently in adults who never received vaccinations because they came from other countries where the MMR vaccine isn’t widely used.

Modern Treatment:
Rubella cannot be treated with antibiotics because antibiotics do not work against viral infections. Unless there are complications, rubella will resolve on its own.

Any pregnant woman who has been exposed to rubella should contact her obstetrician immediately.
Symptoms are usually treated with paracetamol until the disease has run its course. Treatment of newly born babies is focused on management of the complications. Congenital heart defects and cataracts can be corrected by surgery. Management for ocular CRS is similar to that for age-related macular degeneration, including counseling, regular monitoring, and the provision of low vision devices, if required.

Home Treatment:
Rubella is typically a mild illness, especially in kids. Infected children usually can be cared for at home. Monitor your child’s temperature, and call the doctor if the fever climbs too high.

To relieve minor discomfort, you can give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Avoid giving aspirin to a child who has a viral illness because its use in such cases has been associated with the development of Reye syndrome, which can lead to liver failure and death.

Prognosis:
Rubella infection of children and adults is usually mild, self-limiting and often asymptomatic. The prognosis in children born with CRS is poor.

Self-care:
In rare instances when a child or adult is infected with rubella, simple self-care measures are required:

* Rest in bed as necessary.
* Take acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) to relieve discomfort from fever and aches.
* Tell friends, family and co-workers — especially pregnant women — about your diagnosis if they may have been exposed to the disease.

Don’t give aspirin to children who have a viral illness. Aspirin in children has been associated with Reye’s syndrome — a rare, but serious illness that can affect the blood, liver and brain of children and teenagers after a viral infection

Epidemiology:
Rubella is a disease that occurs worldwide. The virus tends to peak during the spring in countries with temperate climates. Before the vaccine to rubella was introduced in 1969, widespread outbreaks usually occurred every 6-9 years in the United States and 3-5 years in Europe, mostly affecting children in the 5-9 year old age group. Since the introduction of vaccine, occurrences have become rare in those countries with high uptake rates. However, in the UK there remains a large population of men susceptible to rubella who have not been vaccinated. Outbreaks of rubella occurred amongst many young men in the UK in 1993 and in 1996 the infection was transmitted to pregnant women, many of whom were immigrants and were susceptible. Outbreaks still arise, usually in developing countries where the vaccine is not as accessible.

During the epidemic in the US between 1962-1965, Rubella virus infections during pregnancy were estimated to have caused 30,000 still births and 20,000 children to be born impaired or disabled as a result of CRS. Universal immunisation producing a high level of herd immunity is important in the control of epidemics of rubella.

Prevention:
Rubella infections are prevented by active immunisation programs using live, disabled virus vaccines. Two live attenuated virus vaccines, RA 27/3 and Cendehill strains, were effective in the prevention of adult disease. However their use in prepubertile females did not produce a significant fall in the overall incidence rate of CRS in the UK. Reductions were only achieved by immunisation of all children.

The vaccine is now given as part of the MMR(measles-mumps-rubella ) vaccine. The WHO recommends the first dose is given at 12 to 18 months of age with a second dose at 36 months. Pregnant women are usually tested for immunity to rubella early on. Women found to be susceptible are not vaccinated until after the baby is born because the vaccine contains live virus.

The immunization program has been quite successful with Cuba declaring the disease eliminated in the 1990s. In 2004 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that both the congenital and acquired forms of rubella had been eliminated from the United States.


History:

Rubella was first described in the mid-eighteenth century. Friedrich Hoffmann made the first clinical description of rubella in 1740, which was confirmed by de Bergen in 1752 and Orlow in 1758.

In 1814, George de Maton first suggested that it be considered a disease distinct from both measles and scarlet fever. All these physicians were German, and the disease was known as Rötheln (from the German name Röteln), hence the common name of “German measles”. Henry Veale, an English Royal Artillery surgeon, described an outbreak in India. He coined the name “rubella” (from the Latin, meaning “little red”) in 1866.

It was formally recognised as an individual entity in 1881, at the International Congress of Medicine in London. In 1914, Alfred Fabian Hess theorised that rubella was caused by a virus, based on work with monkeys. In 1938, Hiro and Tosaka confirmed this by passing the disease to children using filtered nasal washings from acute cases.

In 1940, there was a widespread epidemic of rubella in Australia. Subsequently, ophthalmologist Norman McAllister Gregg found 78 cases of congenital cataracts in infants and 68 of them were born to mothers who had caught rubella in early pregnancy. Gregg published an account, Congenital Cataract Following German Measles in the Mother, in 1941. He described a variety of problems now know as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) and noticed that the earlier the mother was infected, the worse the damage was. The virus was isolated in tissue culture in 1962 by two separate groups led by physicians Parkman and Weller.

There was a pandemic of rubella between 1962 and 1965, starting in Europe and spreading to the United States. In the years 1964-65, the United States had an estimated 12.5 million rubella cases. This led to 11,000 miscarriages or therapeutic abortions and 20,000 cases of congenital rubella syndrome. Of these, 2,100 died as neonates, 12,000 were deaf, 3,580 were blind and 1,800 were mentally retarded. In New York alone, CRS affected 1% of all births

In 1969 a live attenuated virus vaccine was licensed. In the early 1970s, a triple vaccine containing attenuated measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) viruses was introduced.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubella
http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/skin/german_measles.html
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/rubella/DS00332/DSECTION=1

Common Cold

Alternative Names :
Upper respiratory infection – viral; Cold
Definition :
The common cold generally involves a runny nose, nasal congestion, and sneezing. You may also have a sore throat, cough, headache, or other symptoms. Over 200 viruses can cause a cold.

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Description:
There are at least 200 contagious viruses that cause the common cold. These viruses are easily transmitted in minute airborne droplets from the coughs or sneezes of infected people. In many cases, the viruses are also spread to the nose and throat by way of hand-to-hand contact with an infected person or by way of objects that have become contaminated with virus, such as a cup or towel.

Colds can occur at any time of the year, although infections are more frequent in the fall and winter. About half of the population of the us and europe develops al least one cold each year. Children are more susceptible to colds than adults because they have not yet developed immunity to the most common viruses and also because viruses spread very quickly in communities such as nurseries and schools.

Causes:
We call it the “common cold” for good reason. There are over one billion colds in the United States each year. You and your children will probably have more colds than any other type of illness. Children average three to eight colds per year. They continue getting them throughout childhood. Parents often get them from the kids. Colds are the most common reason that children miss school and parents miss work.

Children usually get colds from other children. When a new strain is introduced into a school or day care, it quickly travels through the class.

Colds can occur year-round, but they occur mostly in the winter (even in areas with mild winters). In areas where there is no winter, colds are most common during the rainy season.

When someone has a cold, their runny nose is teeming with cold viruses. Sneezing, nose-blowing, and nose-wiping spread the virus. You can catch a cold by inhaling the virus if you are sitting close to someone who sneezes, or by touching your nose, eyes, or mouth after you have touched something contaminated by the virus.

People are most contagious for the first 2 to 3 days of a cold, and usually not contagious at all by day 7 to 10.

Symptoms :

The initial symptoms of a cold usually develop between 12 hours and three days after infection. Symptoms usually intensify over 24-48 hours, unlike those of influenza, which worsen rapidly over a few hours. The three most frequent symptoms of a cold are:
Runny nose
Nasal congestion
Sneezing

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Adults and older children with colds generally have minimal or no fever. Young children, however, often run a fever around 100-102°F.

Once you have “caught” a cold, the symptoms usually begin in 2 or 3 days, though it may take a week. Typically, an irritated nose or scratchy throat is the first sign, followed within hours by sneezing and a watery nasal discharge.

Within one to three days, the nasal secretions usually become thicker and perhaps yellow or green. This is a normal part of the common cold and not a reason for antibiotics.

Depending on which virus is the culprit, the virus might also produce:

Sore throat
Cough
Muscle aches
Headache
Postnasal drip
Decreased appetite
Still, if it is indeed a cold, the main symptoms will be in the nose.

For children with asthma, colds are the most common trigger of asthma symptoms.

In some people, a common cold may be complicated by a bacterial infection of the chest or of the sinuses. Bacterial ear infections, which may cause earache, are a common complication of colds.

Colds are a common precursor of ear infections. However, children’s eardrums are usually congested during a cold, and it’s possible to have fluid buildup without a true bacterial infection.

The entire cold is usually over all by itself in about 7 days, with perhaps a few lingering symptoms (such as cough) for another week. If it lasts longer, see your doctor to rule out another problem such as a sinus infection or allergies.

Treatment :
Get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. Over-the-counter cold remedies may help ease your symptoms. These won’t actually shorten the length of a cold, but can help you feel better.

NOTE: Some medical experts have recommended against using cough suppressants in many situations. Talk to your doctor before you or your child — especially those under age 2 — take any type of over-the-counter cough medicine, including those specifically labeled for children.

Antibiotics should not be used to treat a common cold. They will not help and may make the situation worse. Thick yellow or green nasal discharge is not a reason for antibiotics, unless it doesn’t get better within 10 to 14 days. (In this case, it may be sinusitis.)

New antiviral drugs could make runny noses completely clear up a day sooner than usual (and begin to ease the symptoms within a day). It’s unclear whether the benefits of these drugs outweigh the risks.

Chicken soup has been used for treating common colds at least since the 12th century. It may really help. The heat, fluid, and salt may help you fight the infection.
Ayurvedic Recommended Product: Curill
Ayurvedic Recommended Therapy: Nasya

Herbal Treatment of Common Cold

Click for Homeopathic Remedies for Common Cold….……………………………(1)….(2).(3)

Home Remedy for Cold

CL ICK & SEE : Simple and Inexpensive Trick to Cure a Common Cold

Take A Foot bath & in heal Steam with little camphor 2 to 3 times a day  Best way to get rid of common cold

Prognosis:
Most people recognize their symptoms as those of a common cold and do not seek medical advice.

The symptoms usually go away in 7 to 10 days.The common cold usually clears up without treatment within 2 weeks, but a cough may last longer.

Possible Complications:
Despite a great deal of scientific research, there is no cure for a common cold, but over-the-counter drugs can help relieve the symptoms. these drugs include analgesics to relieve a headache and reduce a fever, decongestants to clear a stuffy nose, and cough remedies to soothe a tickling throat. It is also important to drink plenty of cool fluids, particularly if you have a fever. Many people take large quantities of vitamin c to prevent infection and treat the common cold, but any benefit from this remedy is unproved.

If your symptoms do not improve in a week or your child is no better in 2 days, you should consult a doctor. if you have a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, although they are ineffective against cold viruses.

Bronchitis
Pneumonia
Ear infection
Sinusitis
Worsening of asthma

When to Contact a Medical Professional :

Try home care measures first. Call your health care provider if:

1. The symptoms worsen or do not improve after 7 to 10 days
2.Breathing difficulty develops
3.Specific symptoms deserve a call

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Prevention:
It might seem overwhelming to try to prevent colds, but you can do it. Children average three to eight colds per year. It is certainly better to get three than eight!

Here are five proven ways to reduce exposure to germs:

Switch day care: Using a day care where there are six or fewer children dramatically reduces germ contact.
Wash hands: Children and adults should wash hands at key moments — after nose-wiping, after diapering or toileting, before eating, and before preparing food.
Use instant hand sanitizers: A little dab will kill 99.99% of germs without any water or towels. The products use alcohol to destroy germs. They are an antiseptic, not an antibiotic, so resistance can’t develop.
Disinfect: Clean commonly touched surfaces (sink handles, sleeping mats) with an EPA-approved disinfectant.
Use paper towels instead of shared cloth towels.

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Here are seven ways to support the immune system:

Avoid unnecessary antibiotics:
The more people use antibiotics, the more likely they are to get sick with longer, more stubborn infections caused by more resistant organisms in the future.
Breastfeed: Breast milk is known to protect against respiratory tract infections, even years after breastfeeding is done. Kids who don’t breastfeed average five times more ear infections.
Avoid second-hand smoke: Keep as far away from it as possible! It is responsible for many health problems, including millions of colds.
Get enough sleep: Late bedtimes and poor sleep leave people vulnerable.
Drink water: Your body needs fluids for the immune system to function properly.
Eat yogurt: The beneficial bacteria in some active yogurt cultures help prevent colds.
Take zinc: Children and adults who are zinc-deficient get more infections and stay sick longer.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://www.charak.com/DiseasePage.asp?thx=1&id=115
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000678.htm