Infectious diseases

 

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Exercise

a Five infectious diseases are mentioned in the text. What are their names in Norwegian?

b Match each description with the correct disease
 – incubation period: 7–14 days
 – spots are red and slightly raised
 – swelling starts under the jaw up by the ear
 – on a light skin the spots are pink
 – spots become fluid-filled blisters within a day or so

c What is said about pregnancy in connection with these diseases?




Source

List of diseases

Chicken pox

Incubation period

11–21 days

Infectious period

From the day before the rash appears until all the spots are dry.

Symptoms

Begins with feeling unwell, a rash and maybe a slight temperature. Spots are red and become fluid-filled blisters within a day or so. Appear first on the chest and back, then spread, and eventually dry into scabs, which drop off. Unless spots are badly infected, they don't usually leave a scar.

What to do

No need to see your GP unless you're unsure whether it's chickenpox, or your child is very unwell and/or distressed. Give plenty to drink. Paracetamol will help bring down a temperature. Baths, loose comfortable clothes and calamine lotion can all ease the itchiness. You should also inform the school/ nursery in case other children are at risk.

N.B. Keep your child away from anyone who is, or is trying to become pregnant. If your child was with anyone pregnant before he/she became unwell, let that woman know about the chicken pox and tell her to see her GP. Sometimes chickenpox in pregnancy can cause miscarriage or the baby may be born with chicken pox.


Measles

Incubation period

7–12 days

Infectious period

From a few days before the rash appears until 5 days after it goes.

Symptoms

Begins like a bad cold and cough with sore, watery eyes. Child becomes gradually more unwell, with a temperature. Rash appears after third or fourth day. Spots are red and slightly raised; may be blotchy, but are not itchy. Begins behind the ears, and spreads to the face and neck and then the rest of the body. Children can become very unwell, with cough and high temperature. The illness usually lasts about a week.

What to do

See your GP. If your child is unwell give him or her rest and plenty to drink. Warm drinks will ease the cough. Paracetamol will ease discomfort and lower the temperature. Vaseline around the lips protects the skin. Wash crustiness from eyelids with warm water.


Mumps

Incubation period

14–21 days

Infectious period

From a few days before becoming unwell until swelling goes down. Maybe 10 days in all.

Symptoms

At first, your child may be mildly unwell with a bit of fever, and may complain of pain around the ear or being uncomfortable when chewing. Swelling then starts under the jaw up by the ear. Swelling often starts on one side, followed (though not always) by the other. Your child's face is back to normal size in about a week. It's rare for mumps to affect boys' testes. This happens rather more often with adult men with mumps. For both boys and men, the risk of any permanent damage to the testes is very low.

What to do

Your child may not feel especially ill and may not want to be in bed. Baby or junior paracetamol will ease pain in the swollen glands. Check correct dosage on pack. Give plenty to drink, but not fruit juices. No need to see your GP unless your child has stomach ache and is being sick, or develops a rash of small red/purple spots or bruises.


Rubella (German measles)

Incubation period

14–21 days

Infectious period

One week before and at least 4 days after the rash first appears.

Symptoms

Can be difficult to diagnose with certainty. Starts like a mild cold. The rash appears in a day or two, first on the face, then spreading. Spots are flat. On a light skin they are pale pink. Glands in the back of the neck may be swollen. Your child won't usually feel unwell.

What to do

Give plenty to drink. Keep your child away from anybody you know who's up to 4 months pregnant (or trying to get pregnant). If your child was with anyone pregnant before you knew about the illness, let her know. If an unimmunised pregnant woman catches German measles in the first 4 months of pregnancy, there is a risk of damage to her baby.

NB. Any pregnant woman who has had contact with German measles should see her GP. The GP can check whether or not she is immune, and if not, whether there is any sign of her developing the illness.


Whooping cough

Incubation period

7–14 days

Infectious period

From the first signs of the illness until about 6 weeks after coughing first starts. If an antibiotic is given, the infectious period is up to 5 days after beginning the course of treatment.

Symptoms

Begins like a cold and cough. The cough gradually gets worse. After about 2 weeks, coughing bouts start. These are exhausting and make it difficult to breathe. Your child may choke and vomit. Sometimes, but not always, there's a whooping noise as the child draws in breath after coughing it takes some weeks before the coughing fits start to die down.

What to do

If your child has a cough that gets worse rather than better and starts to have longer fits of coughing more and more often, see your doctor. It's important for the sake of other children to know whether or not it's whooping cough. Talk to your GP about how best to look after your child and avoid contact with babies, who are most at risk from serious complications.