Influenza 273

However, an accurate diagnosis of ulcerative colitis may require an examination of the colon by inserting a colonoscope, which allows doctors to see the degree of damage. A biopsy of the colon may help confirm the diagnosis. To diagnose Crohn's disease, barium X rays can reveal characteristic signs of inflammation in the lining of the intestine. An upper gastrointestinal endo-scopy and colonoscopy may be performed to check for evidence of bowel damage caused by inflammation.

Treatment

Medication is the primary method for treating symptoms of IBD. Steroids, cyclosporin, azathio-prine, and anti-TNF antibodies restrain the immune system from attacking the body's own tissues and causing further inflammation. Anti-inflammatory drugs are also used.

If a child with IBD does not respond to these medicines, surgery may be considered, although the recurrent nature of Crohn's disease makes surgery a last-ditch effort. An aggressive surgical approach to Crohn's disease also can cause other complications, such as short bowel syndrome (which reduces the ability to absorb nutrients and also may cause growth failure).

Children with ulcerative colitis may need to have the large intestine removed, along with a surgical procedure in which doctors form a pouch from the small bowel to collect stool in the pelvis. After another surgery to reconnect the bowel, feces can pass through the anus.

influenza A contagious respiratory infection that often occurs in epidemics from November to March. While the disease is not dangerous in itself, it can lead to pneumonia, a potentially fatal complication. Every year as winter begins, the flu spreads across the globe. In the united States, up to 50 million people may be infected. Field studies indicate the flu may affect children the most—up to 36 percent of children from ages one to 18 will get sick during an epidemic. While most deaths from flu occur among the elderly, children under age five are also at higher risk for complications. Some children who have chronic medical conditions may become sicker with the flu and may require hospitalization, and flu in a newborn also can be hazardous.

In the past, because there were far more serious diseases to worry about, the flu did not attract much medical attention until the great Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, which killed 550,000 Americans. Worldwide, this pandemic left about 21 million dead out of about one billion cases before it vanished; scientists still do not know where it went, and they worry that another outbreak could occur. Since World War II, vaccines have helped cut the death rate.

Cause

The influenza virus today occurs in any of three types, known as influenza A, B, and C. However, strains A and B mutate quickly; several strains of each of these types now exist. The three basic flu types have variants that are designated according to where they first strike, such as New Jersey (A), Bangkok (A), and so on. The 1957 and 1968 Asian flu pandemics were caused by strains of type A.

The highly contagious virus is spread by direct contact, or via droplets and dust in the air over short distances away from patients who are coughing or sneezing. The virus also can survive for hours in dried mucus, so dirty tissues should be carefully thrown away.

Anyone can catch the flu, regardless of age, sex, or race, but certain groups are more likely to develop complications. The contagious period varies, but it probably starts the day before symptoms appear and extends for about a week.

An infection will confer immunity to the specific flu strain only. Because the viruses that cause flu are always changing, people who have been infected or who have gotten a flu shot in other years may still become infected with a new strain.

Swine Influenza

Swine Influenza

SWINE INFLUENZA frightening you? CONCERNED about the health implications? Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases! Stop The Swine Flu from Spreading. Follow the advice to keep your family and friends safe from this virus and not become another victim. These simple cost free guidelines will help you to protect yourself from the swine flu.

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