Measles is an infectious disease causing fever and a red rash on the skin, mainly affects children but can occur at any age. Measles, also known as Rubeola or morbilli it is a viral infection of the respiratory system.
Measles is a very contagious disease that can spread through contact with infected mucus and saliva. The coughing or sneezing of an infected person can release the virus into the air. The virus can live on surfaces for several hours. As the infected particles enter the air and settle on surfaces, anyone within close proximity can become infected with the measles virus.
What Causes Measles?
You can contact Measles through:
- Being nearby infected people if they cough or sneeze.
- Hot Weather sometimes causes it.
- Physical contact with an infected person.
- Touching a surface that has infected droplets of mucus (the virus remains active for two hours) and then putting your fingers into your mouth, rubbing your nose or eyes.
- Light sensitivity
- Muscle aches
- Red eyes
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- White spots inside the mouth
A widespread skin rash is a classic sign of measles. This rash can last up to seven days and generally appears within the first three to five days of exposure to the virus. A measles rash commonly develops at the head and slowly spreads to other parts of the body.
Symptoms/Signs of Measles Rash
Red Itchy Bumps
How to diagnose Measles
Your doctor will usually be able to diagnose measles from the combination of your symptoms, especially the characteristic rash and the small spots inside your mouth. However, a simple blood or saliva test is usually done to confirm the diagnosis.
Complications of measles
Measles is the fifth leading cause of death and sickness in children worldwide, reports the Better Health Channel.
- Decrease in blood platelets
- Decrease in blood platelets
- Ear infection
- Miscarriage or preterm labor
- Severe diarrhea
Call the doctor immediately if you suspect that your child has measles. Also, it's important to get medical care when you notice that if your child is having any of these:
· A fit (convulsion). Most important: remember that measles, a once common disease, is preventable through routine childhood immunization.
· Breathing Difficulties
What is the danger of getting Measles while pregnant?
If a woman contracts measles while she is pregnant, she may have a miscarriage, a stillbirth, or a preterm delivery. But for German measles which also known as rubella virus this has risk of having birth defects
How to Prevent Measles
- Get the measles vaccine:
Infants 6-11 months of age should have 1 dose of measles vaccine if traveling internationally.
Children in the United States routinely receive measles vaccination at 12-15 months of age.
Infants vaccinated before or 12 months of age should be revaccinated on or after the first birthday with 2 doses, separated by at least 28 days.
Adolescents and adults who have not had measles or have not been vaccinated should get 2 doses, separated by at least 28 days.
Two doses of MMR (measles, mumps & rubella) vaccine is nearly 100% effective at preventing measles.
- Immune suppressed - should be excluded until 14 days after the first day of the appearance of rash in the last case.
There is no specific measles treatment. If there are no complications the doctor will recommend plenty of rest and normal measures to control the fever and prevent dehydration (drink fluids). Symptoms will usually go away within 7 to 10 days.
If your child has measles, the following measures may help:
- Fever - if the temperature is high try to keep the child cool, but make sure he/she is not cold. Tylenol (Paracetamol, Acetaminophen) or ibuprofen is effective in controlling fever, as well as aches and pain. Children under 16 should not be given aspirin. Check with your doctor about acetaminophen dosage - too much can harm the child, especially the liver.
- Smoking - do not let anyone smoke near the child with measles.
- Photophobia - as the child may be painfully sensitive to light, keeping the lights dim or the room darkened may help. Sunglasses may also help.
- Conjunctivitis - if there is crustiness around the eyes gently clean with damp cotton wool.
- Cough - cough medicines will not relieve the cough. Making the room more humid by placing a bowl of water may help the cough. If the child is over twelve a glass of warm water with a teaspoon of lemon juice and two teaspoons of honey may help. Do not give honey to babies.
- Dehydration - make sure the child is hydrated. If the child has a fever he/she can become dehydrated more quickly. Encourage the child to drink plenty of fluids.
- Isolation - while children are contagious they should be kept away from school and should not return to activities that involve human interaction. Non-immunized people who have never had measles should be kept out of the house.
- Vitamin A supplements - studies have shown that Vitamin A supplements significantly help prevent complications caused by measles. Supplements are recommended for children with vitamin A deficiency and children under the age of two who have severe measles. Vitamin A deficiency is virtually non-existent in developed countries, but fairly common in much of the developing world.
Measles Home Remedies/Home Cure
If you or your child has measles, the first thing that you need to do is to keep your doctor informed as you monitor the progress of the disease and watch for complications. Also try to do these:
- Avoid reading or watching television if light from a reading lamp or from the television is difficult.
- Drink plenty of water, fruit juice and herbal tea to replace fluids lost by fever and sweating.
- Get rest and avoid busy activities.
- If you or your child finds bright light difficult, as do many people with measles, keep the lights low or wear sunglasses.
- Use a humidifier to relieve cough and sore throat.