A measure taken for the prevention of a disease. For example, dental prophylaxis consists of removing plaque and cleaning the teeth to prevent cavities and gum disease. The word "prophylaxis" is straight from the Greek and means "an advance guard".
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Prevention of disease or of a process that can lead to disease. [Mod. L. fr. G. pro-phylasso, to guard before, take precaution]
- active p. use of an antigenic (immunogenic) agent to actively stimulate the immunologic mechanism.
- chemical p. the administration of chemicals or drugs to members of a community to reduce the number of carriers of a disease and to prevent others contracting the disease.
- dental p. a series of procedures whereby calculus, stain, and other accretions are removed from the clinical crowns of the teeth, and the enamel surfaces are polished.
- passive p. use of an antiserum from another person or animal to provide temporary protection against a specific infectious or toxic agent.

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pro·phy·lax·is -'lak-səs n, pl -lax·es -'lak-.sēz 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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any means taken to prevent disease, such as immunization against diphtheria or whooping cough, or fluoridation to prevent dental decay in children.
prophylactic adj.

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pro·phy·lax·is (pro″fə-lakґsis) [Gr. prophylassein to keep guard before] intervention aimed at the prevention of disease; called also preventive treatment, prophylactic treatment, and protective therapy.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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  • Prophylaxis — (Greek προφυλάσσω to guard or prevent beforehand ) is any medical or public health procedure whose purpose is to prevent, rather than treat or cure a disease. Roughly, prophylactic measures are divided between primary prophylaxis (to prevent the… …   Wikipedia

  • Prophylaxis — Proph y*lax is, n. [NL. See {Prophylactic}.] (Med.) The art of preserving from, or of preventing, disease; the observance of the rules necessary for the preservation of health; preservative or preventive treatment. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Prophylaxis — (Prophylăke, gr.), 1) die Verhütung einer Krankheit; 2) die Lehre über die hierzu anzuwendenden Mittel, also Diätetik im weitesten Sinne. Prophylaktisch, vorbeugend, verhütend, abwendend …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Prophylaxis — (griech.), die »Verhütung« von Krankheiten, ist von um so größerer Bedeutung, als sehr viele Krankheiten, wenn sie einmal den Menschen befallen haben, in ihrem Verlauf weder unterbrochen, noch durch ärztliche Kunst verkürzt werden können. Die… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Prophylaxis — Prophylaxis, griech., in der Heilkunde dasjenige Verfahren, welches zum Zweck hat, den Körper vor Erkrankung zu bewahren. Sie ist theils allgemein (die Sorge für gesunde Nahrung, gute Luft, öffentliche Reinlichkeit, Anordnungen gegen drohende… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • prophylaxis — index deterrence Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • prophylaxis — 1842, Mod.L., from Gk. pro (see PRO (Cf. pro )) + phylaxis “a watching, guarding” (see PROPHYLACTIC (Cf. prophylactic)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • prophylaxis — [prō΄fə lak′sis] n. pl. prophylaxes [prō΄fə lak′sēz΄] [ModL < PROPHYLACTIC, based on Gr phylaxis, a watching < phylax, guard] 1. the prevention of or protection from disease; prophylactic treatment 2. Dentistry a mechanical cleaning of… …   English World dictionary

  • Prophylaxis — Pro|phy|lạ|xe, Pro|phy|lạ|xis, die; , …laxen <Pl. selten> [griech. prophýlaxis = Vorsicht, zu: prophylássein, ↑ prophylaktisch] (Med.): einer Erkrankung vorbeugende Maßnahme[n]; Vorbeugung: sich durch eine geeignete P. schützen; ein… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • prophylaxis — noun our dental insurance covers twice yearly prophylaxis Syn: preventive treatment, prevention, protection, precaution …   Thesaurus of popular words

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