What does that medical term mean?


How often have you asked, “What does that medical term mean?” Clear up your confusion about some common medical names or terms like Pertussis and Rubeola here.


Diphtheria is a serious disease that can cause a swollen neck. It is sometimes referred to as ‘bull neck’. The illness is often associated with fever, as well as sore throat and tonsils. Often, severe infections can affect other organ systems like your heart and nervous system. Be careful. You can pass on the Diphtheria bacteria to others by coughing or sneezing. Vaccination is the most effective step you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones, and fortunately with vaccination diphtheria has become rare in Australia.

Tetanus (Lockjaw)

Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, can cause severe muscle spasms and serious breathing difficulties. The disease can be fatal. You can get the tetanus bacteria through any kind of puncture wound, like a splinter or insect bite. Before leaving for an overseas trip you should make sure you have had a tetanus shot within the last 10 years.

Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

Whooping cough is a highly contagious, potentially deadly disease, which affects your breathing. The name comes from the noisy, “whooping” indrawn breath, which follows a coughing fit. Immunisation with the single DPT (diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus) vaccine provides lasting protection for all three of the above dangerous diseases. If vaccination rates fall, we lose our heard immunity and these serious diseases quickly start to break out again. This is especially dangerous for those at increased risk, such as children with chronic medical problems.

Polio (Poliomyelitis)

Polio is also referred to as infantile paralysis. It’s been eradicated in many countries, but it remains a highly infectious viral disease prevalent in less developed countries. Polio attacks your central nervous system. Symptoms range from a mild non-paralytic infection to total paralysis. You may need the polio vaccine if you are travelling.

Measles (Rubeola)

Measles, known also by the term rubeola, is a potentially disastrous disease. Best known for causing a fever and rash in childhood, measles can affect other parts of the body and sometimes occurs in adults. During pregnancy, exposure to the measles virus may trigger miscarriage or premature delivery. Measles is also a preventable disease with a vaccination.

What does that medical term mean?

Regardless of common names or medical terms, an appointment at Azure Medical is about you as a person. Our enthusiastic professionals are here to help you understand all you need to know about your health. Ask us about diseases and vaccinations you may need depending on your travel plans, pre-existing health conditions, and your age. Prevention is always better than cure!

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Richard Newton

Dr Richard Newton grew up in Warwickshire, England and went to University in Southampton, qualifying in medicine in 1991. Richard’s medical career has taken him around the world in a wide range of roles, from a ship’s Medical Officer on a frigate during the Balkans War, to rural General Practice on King Island, Tasmania. Richard has completed further Professional Development in Laser and Cosmetic Medicine, Skin Cancer Management, Sports Medicine and Internal Medicine.

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