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HNIG Treatment for Measles Exposure

What is HNIG?

Human Normal Immunoglobulin (HNIG) is a vital medical treatment derived from blood plasma. This treatment is rich in antibodies, which are essential proteins that the immune system uses to identify and neutralise pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. HNIG is particularly effective in combating infections caused by the measles virus.

Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that can lead to serious health complications, especially in young children, pregnant women, and individuals with weakened immune systems. While vaccination is the primary method of prevention, HNIG serves as an important intervention for those who have already been exposed to the virus.

Administered through an injection, HNIG offers rapid protection against measles. It works by providing a high concentration of ready-made antibodies, which offer immediate defence against the virus. This protection is crucial in the early stages following exposure, as it can significantly reduce the risk of developing severe illness.

The effectiveness of HNIG is most pronounced when given within six days of exposure to the measles virus. Once administered, the antibodies circulate in the bloodstream, offering protection that typically lasts for several weeks. This immediate response is particularly valuable in outbreak situations or for individuals who are at high risk of complications from measles.

In addition to its role in measles prevention, HNIG can also be used for other medical conditions where rapid immune support is needed. Its broad application highlights its importance in modern medicine, particularly in scenarios where time-sensitive interventions are critical.

In summary, HNIG is a powerful tool in the fight against measles, providing swift and effective immune protection for those exposed to the virus. By understanding and utilising treatments like HNIG, we can better manage and prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

Why Worry About Measles?

Measles is a highly contagious virus that spreads easily through coughs, sneezes, or by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus. Once symptoms start, which can include fever, cough, and a rash, people can become very ill. You can catch measles through close contact with an infected person or by touching things they have sneezed or coughed on.

One in fifteen people with measles can become seriously ill. Vulnerable groups include young children, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems. These groups are more likely to suffer severe complications from measles.

Complications from Measles Can Include:

  • Ear infections
  • Lung infection (pneumonia)
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dehydration
  • Fits (rarely)
  • During pregnancy, it can cause early birth or loss of the baby.
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Is HNIG Safe?

HNIG has been safely used in measles prevention since 1940. Most people do not have strong reactions to HNIG injections beyond some redness or swelling at the injection site. However, some might experience a rash, itchiness, headache, high temperature, or shivers. If you have any side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. You can also report side effects through the MHRA Yellow Card Scheme.

  • Long History of Safe Use
  • Mild Common Side Effects
  • Less Common Reactions
  • Reporting Side Effects

How to Get HNIG Treatment

Only patients assessed by the United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) specialists and deemed eligible for a HNIG injection will be referred to a community service for treatment. A trained healthcare professional will explain the procedure to you and, if you agree, will administer the HNIG injection.

After HNIG Administration

After receiving HNIG, you will be asked to wait for 10 to 15 minutes. This waiting period allows healthcare providers to ensure you are not experiencing any immediate side effects like dizziness, which could cause a fall.

Vaccination After HNIG

It is recommended to wait at least 3 months before getting vaccinated with live vaccines, such as those for measles, rubella, mumps, or chickenpox, after receiving HNIG. Always consult your healthcare provider for more information.

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