Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Doctor Calls

A little public service health information for parents from the doctor this morning and this covers new advice on detecting signs of meningitis following a new study that has identified the earliest symptoms.

Health advice has traditionally highlighted early warnings such as a red rash, stiff neck and sensitivity to light as indicators of the potentially fatal bacterial — and the less dangerous viral — meningitis. These “classic symptoms” can take an average of between 13 and 22 hours to develop, by which time some victims are only two hours away from being critically ill.

Parents are now warned to watch out for sepsis (leg pain), abnormally pale or mottled skin and cold hands and feet as indicators that their child may have meningitis that should be reported to their doctor and which have a high diagnostic value.”

At least four in 100,000 British children will become ill with meningococcal disease and 10 per cent of those infected die.

Bird flu continues its advance towards Europe but has still failed to make the significant jump involving human to human transfer that the World Health Organisation fears. There have been just over a hundred confirmed cases of avian flu with the H5N1 strain, in people from Indonesia, Thailand and Cambodia, which has led to 60 deaths. All the victims are thought to have been in close or direct contact with infected birds.

Updated information on the illness and advice for us here in the UK on issues such as travelling to Turkey – which sounds like a pun - is available on the NHS Direct website which should be your first port of call if it ever reaches Britain.

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