Category Archives: Word of the fortnight

Word of the Fortnight: Varicella Zoster

Doctors often look foolish when it comes to the health of their own children.

I love having a houseful of guests, especially now most of my friends have little ones in tow and you can stick all the kids in one room to entertain themselves fight it out whilst the adults hide in another sneakily drinking wine. On one such occasion a friend commented that sprog1 had a few spots around his neck and asked if he’d had chicken pox yet. I fleetingly cast an eye in his direction and continued supping from my glass. Come bath time I looked like a prize plum as he was spottier than Mr Tumble and was undeniably in the grips of varicella zoster.giraffe

Yes – Varicella is not the newest teen pop sensation but the medical word for good old chickenpox. Most of us have suffered with the pox in childhood and are fairly familiar with it, but I thought it’s always worth a bit of a refresher. Continue reading →

Word of the fortnight: Atopy

balloonatopyAhem…. I’d like to make an announcement. My name is Jessica and I am atopic, and I’d hazard a guess that many of you reading this are also atopic. No – don’t panic – I am not confessing to a deviant hobby but merely my susceptibility to asthma, eczema and a bit of hayfever.

ATOPY is the medical word for this group of allergies. All of them are caused by the same underlying hypersensitivity reaction in the body, causing a chain reaction of events which ultimately results in tissues becoming swollen and inflamed. Typical things that trigger atopic reactions (often referred to as ‘allergens’) include house dust mite, moulds, some foods and various parasites. Continue reading →

Word of the fortnight: Pyrexia

Probably the commonest reason I see children in the surgery is due to high temperatures, and PYREXIA is the medical term for a temperature or fever.
thermometer
The question I’m most frequently asked by parents is: When do I need to worry about a temperature?

Medically we define a temperature as being anything over 37.5oC (or 99.5F if you are that way inclined). Most parents become increasingly concerned about their child as the temperature rises, yet doctors place far less emphasis on the actual number the temperature reaches. As a general rule it is only in babes where the value of the temperature is of real significance. In babies less than 6 months old, temperatures over 39oC (or over 38oC in under 3 month olds) may be related to more serious infections. But otherwise, in older children the level of temperature doesn’t appear to correlate to the seriousness of the infection. Temperatures above 41.5oC are extremely rare and are usually due to a problem with the body’s own temperature self-regulation, rather than an infection. Continue reading →

Word of the Fortnight: Acute & Chronic…by popular demand!

376058_7561I have a sneaky suspicion that I am a week out with ‘word of the fortnight’ but heho…. I’m sure no-one else has noticed (and ‘word of the indeterminate time period’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it now does it!). Life has been fairly hectic the last few weeks, which is probably to blame. Baby no3 is starting to wear me out and Sprog 1 & 2 still expect their every whim to be attended to…. makes for one tired (and a rather forgetful) Mummy!

When I started ‘Word of the fortnight’ there was an overwhelming cry from my Doctor friends to do two particular words….ACUTE and CHRONIC. These two words have quite specific medical meanings; but are used in an abundance of different ways by patients. The problem with words such as these, is that they are ‘normal words’ as well as being ‘medical words’, which can cause confusion. I’m never quite sure how most people intend the words to be used, but I think it’s often to convey a sense of severity or gravitas to an illness or problem. Continue reading →

Word of the fortnight: Syncope

For some reason this pregnancy I am quite literally all over the place. Not just in the ‘baby brain’ sense (although I utterly hate that term with a passion…!) but also due to the fact I keep wobbling about and toppling over. I seem to have morphed into one big ball of pathetically low blood pressure, which is permanently on the brink of making me pass out. Therefore for reasons that shall imminently become obvious, the word of the fortnight is: SYNCOPE. Continue reading →

Word of the fortnight….deciphering medical jargon

Who doesn’t vividly remember squeezing in between a gaggle of other teenage girls, craning to get a better look at the latest edition of the 80’s and 90’s teen phenomenon that was More magazine? Obviously the only thing most of us were really interested in was the infamous fortnightly feature involving basic sketches of various karma sutra inspired poses. In tribute to this great bastion of literature I thought I would start my own version…. although probably a lot less titillating you’ll be disappointed to know! Continue reading →

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