ABSTRACT – Measles also known as Rubeola is a viral infection which generally affects the children. The virus stays...
Measles is a viral disease that can spread rapidly.
Also known as rubeola or morbilli, measles is an endemic disease, meaning it is continually present in a community, and many people develop resistance.
It is an unpleasant condition but one that normally passes without treatment within 7 to 10 days.
After a bout of measles, a person gains immunity for the rest of their life. They are very unlikely to contract measles a second time.
Measles is often noticed through a breakout of spots.
The symptoms of measles always include fever and at least one of the three Cs:
coryza, or runny nose
Symptoms will appear about 9 to 11 days after initial infection.
Symptoms may include:
dry hacking cough
conjunctivitis, or swollen eyelids and inflamed eyes
photophobia, or sensitivity to light
a reddish-brown rash
Koplik’s spots, or very small grayish-white spots with bluish-white centers in the mouth, insides of cheeks, and throat
generalized body aches
There is often a fever. This can range from mild severe, up to 40.6 degrees Centigrade. It can last several days, and it may fall and then rise again when the rash appears.
The reddish-brown rash appears around 3 to 4 days after initial symptoms. This can last for over a week.
The rash usually starts behind the ears and spreads over the head and neck. After a couple of days, it spreads to the rest of the body, including the legs. As the spots grow, they often join together.
Most childhood rashes are not measles, but a child should see a doctor if:
a parent suspects the child may have measles
symptoms do not improve, or they get worse
the fever rises to above 38º Centigrade (ºC) or 100.4º Fahrenheit (ºF)
other symptoms resolve, but the fever persists.
Measles is caused by infection with the rubeola virus. The virus lives in the mucus of the nose and throat of an infected child or adult.
The disease is contagious for 4 days before the rash appears, and it continues to be contagious for about 4 to 5 days after.
Infection spreads through:
physical contact with an infected person
being near infected people if they cough or sneeze
touching a surface that has infected droplets of mucus and then putting fingers into the mouth, or rubbing the nose or eyes
The virus remains active on an object for 2 hours.
Measles gives people a fever.
There is no specific treatment. If there are no complications, the doctor will recommend rest and plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
Symptoms usually go away within 7 to 10 days.
The following measures may help:
If the child’s temperature is high, they should be kept cool, but not too cold. Tylenol or ibuprofen can help control fever, aches, and pains. Children under 16 years should not take aspirin. A doctor will advise about acetaminophen dosage, as too much can harm the child, especially the liver. There is an excellent selection online if you want to buy Tylenol or ibuprofen.
People should avoid smoking near the child.
Sunglasses, keeping the lights dim or the room darkened may enhance comfort levels, as measles increases sensitivity to light.
If there is crustiness around the eyes, gently clean with a warm, damp cloth.
Cough medicines will not relieve a measles cough. Humidifiers or placing a bowl of water in the room may help. If the child is over 12 months, a glass of warm water with a teaspoon of lemon juice and two teaspoons of honey may help. Do not give honey to infants.
A fever can lead to dehydration, so the child should drink plenty of fluids.
A child who is in the contagious stage should stay away from school and avoid close contact with others, especially those who are not immunized or have never had measles.
Those with a vitamin A deficiency and children under 2 years who have measles may benefit from vitamin A supplements. These can help prevent complications, but they should only be taken with a doctor’s agreement. If you want to buy vitamin A supplements, then there is an excellent selection online with thousands of customer reviews.
Antibiotics will not help against the measles virus, but they may sometimes be prescribed if an additional bacterial infection develops.