Prophylaxis (Greek "προφυλάσσω" "to guard or prevent beforehand") is any medical or
public healthprocedure whose purpose is to prevent, rather than treat or cure a disease. Roughly, prophylactic measures are divided between "primary" prophylaxis (to prevent the development of a disease) and "secondary" prophylaxis (whereby the disease has already developed and the patient is protected against worsening of this process).
Influenza vaccines are prophylactic. [ [http://www.acponline.org/flu/implemented.htm How should influenza prophylaxis be implemented?] ] Antibiotics are sometimes used prophylactically: For example, during the 2001 anthrax attacksscare in the United States, patients who were believed to be exposed were given ciprofloxacin. Similarly, the use of antibiotic ointments on burns and other wounds is prophylactic. Tricyclic antidepressants(TCAs) may, "with caution", be an example of a chronic migraine preventative (see Amitriptylineand migraines' prevention by medicine). Antimalarialssuch as chloroquineare used both in treatment and as prophylaxis by visitors to countries where malariais endemic to prevent the development of the parasitic" plasmodium" which cause malaria. Condoms are sometimes referred to as "prophylactics" because of their use to prevent pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. Low molecular weight heparinis used as a "prophylaxis" in hospitalpatients, as they are at risk for several forms of thrombosisdue to their immobilisation.
Professional cleaning of the teeth is dental prophylaxis.
Daily and moderate
physical exercisein various forms can be called prophylactic because it can maintain or improve one's health. Cycling for transport appears to very significantly improve health by reducing risk of heart diseases, various cancers, muscular- and skeletal diseases and overall mortality cite journal | author = Lars Bo Andersen et al. | title = All-cause mortality associated with physical activity during leisure time, work, sports, and cycling to work. | journal = Arch Intern Med. | year = 2000 | month = Jun | volume = 160 | issue = 11 | pages = 1621–8 | doi = 10.1001/archinte.160.11.1621 | pmid = 10847255 ] .
Prophylaxis may be administered as vaccine. Prophylactic vaccinesFact|date=December 2007 include: PEP, nPEP, PREP, or nPREP. PEP stands for post-exposure prophylaxis used in an occupational setting. nPEP is non-occupational post-exposure prophylaxis. nPEP may be used in a recreational setting e.g. during intercourse if the condom breaks and one partner is HIV-positive, nPEP will help to decrease the probability of spread of infection of HIV. PREP is often used in occupational settings e.g. in hospital staff to prevent the spread of HIV or Hepatitis C from patient to staff. nPREP is a measure taken before exposure but in a non-occupational setting (non-occupational Pre-exposure prophylaxis) e.g. injection drug users may seek nPREP vaccinations.
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