London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Finchley 1894

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Finchley]

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Measles and Whooping Cough. The true remedy lies in the
education of the masses upon the first principles of disease
prevention, and more especially with the aim of bringing home
to them the danger of these 2 diseases in question, and the
duties that they owe to their offspring and to the community, in
using every possible means of preventing their spread—seeing that
together they generally cause more deaths than Small-pox,
Diphtheria, and Tyhoid Fever combined; to point out to them the
early symptoms of Measles and Whooping Cough and the
necessity of guarding against all exposure to chills; to impress
upon them the necessity in either case of obtaining prompt
medical advice; and more especially in times when Measles and
Whooping Cough are prevalent, to urge the advisability of treating
children who are suffering only from symptoms of a simple cold
—whether it be in the head or the chest, as "suspects" who
should be isolated from other children so far as possible, and in
any event kept from school.
All this information can only be conveyed through the
medium of printed slips of advice, for it is difficult to get the
poorer people together in sufficient numbers to lecture to. My
recommendation is that in the Finchley District the Medical
Gentlemen be asked to co-operate with me to the extent of
returning a small form (already stamped and addressed) whenever
the number of cases of Measles in their individual practice
indicate the commencement of an outbreak. I propose then to
make a distribution of small handbills among all the property in
the District with a ratable value of £25 and under, for it is
among the occupants of this class properly that advice is needed
and it is with them that Measles and Whooping Cough find the
bulk of their victims.
Then again the attendance at Elementary Schools is doubtless
responsible for a considerable amount of spread from both
of these maladies, and I propose at the same time to seek the
co-operation of the School Teachers in the District in endeavouring
to detect cases in their early stages, and in excluding them
from school attendance.

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