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Glossary

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V

  • vaccination

    The introduction of vaccine into the body for the purpose of inducing immunity. Coined originally to apply to the injection of smallpox vaccine, the term has come to mean any immunising procedure in which vaccine is injected.

  • vaccination dressing

    Dressing used to protect any vesicles which appear after vaccination.

  • vaccine

    A substance given to humans or animals to improve immunity from disease. A vaccine can sometimes contain a small amount of bacteria that is designed to stimulate the body's reaction to that particular disease. The first vaccine was developed in 1796 by Edward Jenner to prevent smallpox.

  • vaginal speculum

    Instrument for dilating the vagina, and throwing light within thus facilitating examination or surgical operations

  • Valentin knife

    used to cut slices of organs for microscopic examination

  • valve

    A structure that restricts the flow of fluid to one direction only. Valves are found within veins in the human body where they prevent blood from flowing in the wrong direction.

  • valvulotome

    An instrument for sectioning a valve

  • vanitas

    A type of still-life painting in which the objects are reminders of mortality. These often include hourglasses, scales, mirrors or skulls. Popular in Dutch painting in the 1600s.

  • vaporizer

    A device that turns substances into vapour or gas, especially for medicinal inhalation. The term also refers to an aid for people who are quitting smoking. (It allows them to mimic the act of smoking while reducing the harmful by-products that might otherwise be inhaled.)

  • varicose veins

    Swollen veins that are usually blue or purple in colour.

  • vector

    A vector is the intermediary – the ‘middle-man’ – between the disease-causing organism and the disease sufferer. In the case of malaria, the mosquito that carries the parasite that causes the disease is the vector.

  • vein

    Blood vessel that returns blood to the heart from around the body.

  • vending machine

    A slot machine from which food or other small goods may be obtained.

  • venereal disease

    Historical term for diseases transmitted by sexual intercourse, most notably syphilis and gonorrhoea. Now referred to as sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

  • ventilator

    A machine which mechanically assists patients in the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Often used when a patient has difficulty breathing.

  • ventouse

    A device assisting the delivery of the foetus during childbirth as an alternative to forceps or caesarean section. It is also known as vacuum extraction. A cup attaches to the baby’s head and a vacuum pump and a small handle are used for pulling once the cup is securely in place.

  • ventricular fibrillation

    A disorganised chaotic contraction of the ventricle that fails to effectively eject blood from the ventricle

  • vertebrae

    A bone that is part of the spinal column.

  • vessel

    Containers designed to serve as receptacles for a liquid or other substance, usually those of circular section and made of some durable material; especially containers of this nature in domestic use, employed in connection with the preparation or serving of food or drink, and usually of a size suitable for carrying by hand.

  • veterinary medicine

    Medical science that deals with the diseases and care of animals.

  • vials

    Small or moderate-sized vessels mainly for medicinal and toilet preparations. MCKWBF.

  • vinaigrette

    Small receptacles to contain scented vinegar, formerly used by women, and sometimes men, to ward off faintness. A small container with a perforated top, used to contain an aromatic substance such as vinegar or smelling salts, especially popular for women in Victorian times to combat the aroma from the waste products common in cities.

  • virulent

    Extremely poisonous or venomous. Often applied to bacteria or a disease that can easily overcome the body's defences.

  • virus

    A tiny particle made up of DNA/RNA and a protein coat. Viruses infect animals, plants, and micro-organisms and cause many diseases, including the common cold, influenza, measles, chickenpox, AIDS, polio and rabies. Many viral diseases can be controlled by means of vaccines.

  • visiting card

    Small cards bearing the name, and sometimes the address of a person or married couple for presentation, as when formally calling or visiting.

  • vitamin

    A group of substances needed, in small amounts, for healthy growth and development.

  • vitamin D

    A vitamin that is produced by the body when exposed to UV light. Plays important role in calcium and phosphorus metabolism. Deficiency of vitamin D is known as rickets.

  • vitamin supplement

    trial term S&H

  • vitreous humour

    The transparent gelatinous substance that fills the eyeball between the crystalline lens (lens) and the retina.

  • vivisection

    The dissection of a live animal for experimental research.

  • Voltaic pile

    The first battery, consisting of a number of cells (made from zinc and copper) joined in series. Invented by Alessandro Volta in 1880.

  • volunteering

    Undertaking or offering to undertake, of one's own free will and without compensation, service to others or to some cause or institution, especially in a community context.

  • volvelle

    Use for any of various reckoning devices consisting of movable discs surmounted by or carrying other graduated or figured circles for calculating, for example, phases of the moon, the time of the rising or setting sun, or the times of the tides; usually made of paper, cardboard, or vellum and often found preprinted in or attached to manuscripts or books of the 13th to the 16th century.

  • vomit bowl

    used by patients in hospitals to vomit into

  • votive child

    An image of child or children used as a votive offering

  • votive face

    An image of a face or faces used as a votive offering

  • votive head

    An image of a head used as a votive offering

  • votive mother

    An image of mother used as a votive offering

  • votive offering

    Objects or monuments donated by an individual for a public place or shrine. The object is usually given in gratitude for deliverance from distress.

  • vulcanisation

    The process of treating rubber or rubber-like materials with sulphur at high temperatures. This is to either improve strength and elasticity or to harden.

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