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Spring Infections - Adults Should Also Take Care!

Sakura, Dayan and Audrey are sitting at an open-air cafe pleasantly talking to one another while gazing out on the lush foliage of the trees that line the streets. They are colleagues who work at the same company.

Spring Infections - Adults Should Also Take Care!

Dayan

It's a season when it feels good to be alive! When spring arrived, I suffered a bout of influenza that I’ve finally managed to shake off, and now I feel great.

Audrey

Yes, the flu season commenced a little late this year. Whatever the case, it now seems to be almost over.

Sakura

However, during this season, we all need to be on our guard with respect to infectious diseases such as rubella, the measles and even the mumps.

Dayan

The diseases you just mentioned, don’t they only concern children?

Audrey

In actual fact, although they mainly impact children, the truth of the matter is that adults can also catch them. Moreover, we need to be very careful in that in many cases such diseases are much more serious when caught by adults.

Sakura

In particular, there are statistics that indicate that, more and more men, in the prime of their working lives from their twenties to their forties, are catching rubella. In many instances men of such an age were not vaccinated when they were children because when Japan’s rubella vaccination program commenced, only girls were vaccinated.

Dayan

Does that also put me at risk?

Sakura

Well if you have not had rubella before, and if you haven’t been vaccinated, then you are at risk. There also needs to be concern regarding pregnant women and the threat posed by rubella. If women catch the disease early in their pregnancy, there is the risk that the children subsequently born may suffer from congenital complications such as heart disease, deafness and cataracts, etc.

Dayan

In that the wife of a friend is currently pregnant, I feel obliged to pass on such information.

Sakura

Yes, by vaccination we can be protected against rubella, the measles and the mumps. If you are uncertain as to your own vaccination history, because tests can check the presence or absence of antibodies in your blood, you should consult with your doctor if you feel in any way concerned.

The three friends then continue their discussion while enjoying their refreshments.

Dayan

I suppose there are also other infectious diseases that I should be concerned about?

Sakura

Well one such condition is called “slapped cheek syndrome” (it is also known as “fifth disease”). Cases of it tend to surge once every five years, and I have heard that 2016 is bound to be one such year.

Dayan

Slapped cheek syndrome? Is that the one where the cheeks of those infected become red and rosy like an apple?

Audrey

Yes, that’s the one. Moreover, although there is the tendency to think of it as being a disease that is particular to childhood, adults can also catch it.

Dayan

Is there an effective vaccine against slapped cheek syndrome?

Sakura

Actually there isn’t. The only way to ward off infection is sufficient nutrition and rest to increase the body’s immunity, and to also be thorough in hygiene practices such as gargling and the washing of hands, etc.

Audrey

And slapped cheek syndrome is another condition that pregnant women should be particularly wary of.

Sakura

That is correct. If pregnant women become infected, there is the fear that there will be a negative impact on the babies they are carrying.

Dayan

Moreover, to prevent infections spreading in the workplace, it is also necessary that companies engage in risk management practices.

Audrey

I agree. Companies should consider rules such as subsidizing the cost of vaccination against infectious diseases, and they should also encourage employees who are sick to rest at home.

Dayan

Yes, even if they feel poorly, I have noticed that many Japanese don’t rest but rather persist in turning up for work!

Sakura

That’s a shame. Even though the current season is better, we still need to be thorough in our hand-washing and gargling practices. Even so, if we still manage to come down with something infectious, it is important to rest and to not over exert ourselves.