Jul 23 2017

What Do You Know About Juvenile Arthritis (JRA)?

A report from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS): Who Gets Juvenile Arthritis? Juvenile arthritis affects children of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. About 294,000 American children under age 18 have arthritis or other rheumatic conditions. What Causes Juvenile Arthritis? Juvenile arthritis is usually an autoimmune disorder. As a rule, the immune system helps fight off harmful bacteria and viruses. But in an autoimmune disorder, the immune system attacks some of the body’s healthy cells and tissues. Scientists don’t know why this happens or what causes the disorder. Some think it’s a two-step process in children: something in a child’s genes (passed from parents to children) makes the child more likely to get arthritis, and something like a virus then sets off the arthritis. What Are the Symptoms and Signs of Juvenile Arthritis? The most common symptoms of juvenile arthritis are joint swelling, pain, and stiffness that doesn’t go away. Usually it affects the knees, hands, and feet, and it’s worse in the morning or after a nap. Other signs include: Limping in the morning because of a stiff knee Excessive clumsiness High fever and skin rash Swelling in lymph nodes in the neck and other parts of the body. Most children with arthritis have times when the symptoms get better or go away (remission) and other times when they get worse (flare). Arthritis in children can cause ...

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Jul 02 2017

Why Are You Waiting To Vaccinate Your Children?

We share more than food and culture within our homes and communities. We can also spread disease. Luckily, we live in a time when vaccines can protect us from many of the most serious illnesses. Staying current on your shots helps you—and your neighbors—avoid getting and spreading disease. Vaccines have led to large reductions in illness and death—for both kids and adults—compared with the “pre-vaccine era,” says Dr. David M. Koelle, a vaccine expert at the University of Washington in Seattle. Vaccines will prevent about 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths among U.S. children born over the last 20 years, according to a recent report. Vaccines harness your immune system’s natural ability to detect and destroy disease-causing germs and then “remember” the best way to fight these germs in the future. Vaccination, or immunization, has completely eliminated naturally occurring smallpox worldwide—to the point that we no longer need to get shots against this fast-spreading, once-deadly disease. Polio too has been eliminated in the U.S. and most other nations as well, thanks to immunizations. Poliovirus can affect the brain and spinal cord, leaving people unable to move their arms or legs, or sometimes unable to breathe. “These childhood diseases used to be dreaded problems that would kill or paralyze children,” says Koelle. “In the 1950s, it was a common occurrence for kids to be fine in the spring, get ...

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