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Tag Archives: Health Alerts

ARE YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW BECOMING FORGETFUL ?

Last year I attended an interesting lecture from a doctor that had recently been diagnosed with dementia. What impressed me was not only her courage at being able to talk about the subject but the fact that having been diagnosed in the early stages she was able to get her affairs in order and have some say in how she wanted to spend the rest of her life as well as share with others what her thoughts were about her future.

She was taking medication which can slow the disease down considerably. Moreover, the understanding and care of patients with Dementia has improved remarkably in the past 5 years. When I wrote about my mother 2 years ago it had only just been recognised the importance of Advanced Care Planning and my sister and I were able to have similar conversations with her so that she was able to have some say in where she was to live for the rest of her days, have a say in who should have her treasured possessions and even make personal similar requests such as ‘you will pluck out any facial hair, keep my hair tidy, my nails manicured, and make sure I wear  my favourite make up’ She wanted to remain smartly dressed and maintain a neat appearance this was important to her. We fulfilled her wishes as far as possible and she died wearing her usual make up, her favourite perfume, hair set and permed and wearing a clean, new nightdress. She had pictures of her family around her and playing the music she loved most.

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When I recently went to see ‘Still Alice’ at the cinema not only was the acting of Julianne Moore worthy of an Oscar Award but it demonstrated how a family can be involved in the care of a relative with progressive dementia. In  the case of Alice it was a rare form of dementia which particularly strikes those of a young age, but nevertheless the message was the same. It was a compelling and emotional account of a family overwhelmed with a disease which affects all family members in many different ways,  sometimes dividing but also drawing everyone together with the common desire to help fulfil the individual’s life to the end as the person that everyone knows slowly disappears but somehow remains present.

If someone you know is becoming increasingly forgetful, you should encourage them to see their GP to talk about the early signs of dementia. If it is a relative may be accompany them . We usually screen them first by an array of blood tests to exclude simple causes which are easily treatable. If we are concerned about their cognitive function following a mini- mental health test we then refer to a older persons consultant who performs more mental tests s well as a MRI brain scan before coming to a definitive diagnosis.

Dementia is a syndrome (group of related symptoms) that indicate problems with the brain. There are several types of dementia.

Dementia

One of the most common symptoms is memory loss. While there are other reasons someone might be experiencing memory loss, if dementia is detected early, in some cases its development can be slowed and the person affected may maintain their mental function. The typical features of memory loss are :-

Struggling to remember recent events
Problems following conversations
Forgetting the names of friends or objects
Repeating yourself
Problems with thinking or reasoning
Confusion in familiar places

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In Ealing we have a very supportive group ‘Dementia Concern ‘ which is a group of people who support and help in the many aspects of caring for a person with dementia. Carers as we all know are amazing people who day by day and of often night after night perform the vital job of caring for someone who would fail to manage in their own home without them. They help maintain their dignity, their personal hygiene and those individual demands and requests we all have.

refer to their website to find out how they help and when the Dementia Cafe is open.

http://dementiaconcern.co.uk/services/dementia-cafe/

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Posted by on March 23, 2015 in Training and Advice

 

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SCARLET FEVER MAKES A COME BACK

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This deadly disease was first described gin the 1500s. Due to its contagious nature and debilitating, if not deadly, effects, outbreaks of scarlet fever were greatly feared.

Charles Dickens knew more than he would have wished about scarlet fever. His son, Charley, was afflicted by it, causing the family to leave Paris hurriedly and return to London in 1847, and it featured in several of his novels. It was a much-feared disease that caused devastating epidemics through the 19th and early 20th centuries, resulting in thousands of deaths.

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The boy in this story is suffering from scarlet fever. Because the disease was so infectious, it was not uncommon for all the children in a family to contract scarlet fever and for none to survive.

I can remember my grandmother telling about the carts that rolled down the streets to remove infected people to take them to the fever isolation hospitals outside the towns during epidemics of scarlet fever or other infectious diseases.

Over the years scarlet fever has naturally declined over the past  200 years probably largely due to intake of  better food and clean drinking water, improved sanitation, less overcrowding and better living conditions generally. Also, I suspect that accuracy in diagnosing scarlet fever was more difficult as diseases with rashes such as smallpox, meningococcal meningitis and measles were very common.

Fans of the Little House on the Prairie series will remember that it was scarlet fever was thought to have that resulted in Mary’s blindness. However, as there was no record of a sore throat it was more likely to have been caused by meningococcal meningitis. Both scarlet fever and meningitis have a widespread rash but they are differentiated by performing the ‘glass test’. The rash of scarlet fever becomes white with the glass test.

https://www.meningitisnow.org/meningitis-explained/signs-and-symptoms/glass-test/

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When penicillin was widely available in 1942 this made significant difference to the course of the diseases in that severe complications such as Rheumatic Fever with serious heart problems, Glomerulonephritis with severe kidney problems, osteomyelitis ( bone infection ) and blood borne infections are now very rare.

Now, 160 years later, it is making a comeback. Almost 3,000 cases were recorded in 2008, the highest total for a decade, and doctors fear a dangerous strain of the infection is becoming more widespread. If seems scarlet fever follows a cycle rising and falling roughly every four years – and is currently on a rising trend.

What is Scarlet Fever (Scarletina)?

Scarlet fever (sometimes called scarlatina) is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes, which is commonly found on the skin or in the throat, where it can live without causing problems. However, under some circumstances, they can also cause diseases like scarlet fever.

It is most common in children between the ages of 2 and 8 years of age. I remember one Sunday evening last year I saw 6 children from the same reception  class at school attend with classical signs of scarlet fever.

What are the symptoms and signs?

Symptoms include a fever, tiredness, nausea and vomiting and may be headache aswell as feeling generally unwell.

Red blotches are the first sign of the rash. These turn into a fine pink-red rash that feels like sandpaper to touch and looks like sunburn.
The rash usually starts in one place, but soon spreads to other parts of the body. It commonly affects the ears, neck, chest, elbows, inner thighs and groin, and may be itchy.

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The rash blanches with the ‘glass test’ and does does not normally spread to the face.

However, the cheeks become flushed and the area just around the mouth stays quite pale ( circumoral pallor) The rash will turn white if you press a glass on it. The tongue becomes swollen and red and is often called a ‘strawberry tongue’

The rash usually fades after about a week, but the outer layers of skin, usually on the hands and feet, may peel for several weeks afterwards.

In milder cases, sometimes called scarlatina, the rash may be the only symptom.i

How do you protect yourself from scarlet fever?

The risk of infection can be reduced through general good hygiene and cleanliness, including:

•Washing your hands often, using alcohol hand rub

•Not sharing eating utensils with someone who has the infection

•Disposing of tissues promptly

What should I do if I think my child has scarlet fever?

•See their GP as soon as possible

•Make sure that your child takes the full course of any antibiotics prescribed. Although your child will feel better very quickly after starting the course of antibiotics, you must complete the course of treatment to ensure that you don’t carry the germs after you’ve recovered.

•Stay at home, away from nursery, school or work for at least 24 hours after starting the antibiotic treatment to avoid spreading the infection.

•You can help stop the spread of infection through frequent hand-washing and by not sharing eating utensils, clothes, bedding or towels.

More information about scarlet fever:-

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Scarlet-fever/Pages/Introduction.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2015 in Training and Advice

 

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MEASLES CLOSE TO HOME

Watch out

                          THERE HAS BEEN AN OUTBREAK OF MEASLES IN

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If your child is not vaccinated  make an appointment as soon as possible  for a  MMR vaccination “to protect themselves, their loved ones, and the community at large.” The best protection against measles is a two dose regimen of the MMR vaccine, which is safe and more than 99% effective.

Complications of measles can include pneumonia, neurologic involvement, and death. It is well documented that about one in 1000 people with measles will develop meningitis and about one in 1000 will die. “Measles is not a trivial illness. Measles can be very serious, with devastating complications.”

A reader sent me this interesting article which gives food for thought  !!! 

https://medium.com/the-archipelago/im-autistic-and-believe-me-its-a-lot-better-than-measles-78cb039f4bea

 

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MERS – Health Alert to those travelling to the Middle East and returning from theMiddle East

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS- CoV)
MERS
This week Saudi Arabia reported significantly more deaths from the MERS virus
About five weeks ago, Saudi Arabia was reporting 339 known cases of MERS-CoV, 102 of which had resulted in deaths.
This is out of 688 total cases in the Arab nation; 353 patients have recovered and 53 are still receiving treatment
Last week, the World Health Organization reported it was aware of 636 “laboratory-confirmed cases” of MERS infections, which had led to 193 deaths. It is not immediately clear how Saudi Arabia’s latest figures affect those numbers. There are documented cases of the virus around the world.

Doctors believe they have found the first evidence that a new deadly virus has been transmitted from a camel to people.

Camel

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found “identical” Mers viruses in camels and their owner.
An analysis of viral samples taken from both the camels and the patient showed that “the full genome sequence from the two isolates was identical”, the report said.
It added: “These data suggest that this fatal case of human Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection was transmitted through close contact with an infected camel.”
“However, as with other studies recently published, the camels were sampled after the human patient was diagnosed, making direction of infection difficult to prove.

“To be definitive, camel herds will need to be prospectively followed and showed to be infected with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus and infectious prior to a documented transmission event to a human.”

As a coronavirus, MERS is in the same group of illnesses as the common cold
But it is much more lethal: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that about 30% of those infected have died.
There is no vaccine or special treatment
Public Health England has released the following posters, which will be displayed at all airports and airlines.
MERS
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Posted by on June 5, 2014 in Training and Advice

 

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