The campaign ‘#WearPurpleforJIA’ is run by charity National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society to raise awareness and funds for juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). NHS Blackburn with Darwen and NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are backing the campaign this year, which is today Friday 8 June.
Arthritis is often associated with older people, but it can also affect children. In the UK, about 15,000 children and young people are affected by arthritis.
Most types of childhood arthritis are known as juvenile idiopathic arthritis. JIA causes pain and inflammation in one or more joints for at least six weeks.
Although the exact cause of JIA is unknown, the symptoms often improve as a child gets older, meaning they can lead a normal life.
#WearPurpleforJIA has been held every June since 2015 and, in 2017, raised a staggering £22,000. You could arrange for everyone at your school or workplace to make a donation and wear purple on the day, or organise a purple-themed tea party to raise funds, or simply spread the word on social media.
The most common symptoms of all types of JIA are persistent joint swelling, pain, and stiffness that typically is worse in the morning or after a nap.
Other symptoms can include:
* fever that comes and goes
* less appetite
* weight loss
* anaemia (a blood condition, resulting in weariness and skin paleness)
* blotchy rash on a child’s arms and legs.
Dr Aliya Bhat, Clinical Lead Maternity, Children & Families at East Lancashire CCG said:
“Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are many treatments that can help slow down the condition or make you more comfortable, such as painkillers and anti-
inflammatory medications. Physiotherapy and regular exercise can also help with strength and flexibility.
“Your GP is your first point of call when symptoms arise, or if you need information about medications.”
To find out more about JIA, visit the NHS Choices website: www.nhs.uk/conditions/arthritis/#arthritis-and-children
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