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Acute

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Updated July 14, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition: an illness, injury, or pain that occurs suddenly and generally lasts for a short period of time. It does not indicate the severity of a condition; it references the rapid onset of symptoms or illness and/or the short period of time that the symptoms or illness lasts.

The opposite of acute is chronic.

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