Did You Know?
In Greek, phylax means "guard", so prophylactic measures guard against disease by taking action ahead of time. Thus, for example, before the polio vaccine became available, prophylaxis against polio included avoiding crowds and public swimming pools. These days a well-known kind of prophylactic is used to prevent sexually transmitted diseases; but prophylactic measures only work when people use them.
Origin and Etymology of prophylaxis
New Latin, from Greek prophylaktikos
First Known Use: circa 1842
Medical Definition of prophylaxis
: measures designed to preserve health and prevent the spread of disease : protective or preventive treatment <prophylaxis against viral diseases> <a paste containing fluorine for dental prophylaxis>
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