Measles is an infection mostly affecting children. It is caused by a virus known as Rubeola.

What is Measles?

Measles is an infection mostly affecting children. It is caused by a virus known as Rubeola. Measles is highly contagious [spreads easily to others]. This condition is characterized by appearance of blister rash all over the body but is different from other types of common rashes.

The measles virus can spread very easily upon contact with the droplets from the secretions from the nose, mouth and throat of an infected person. Coming into contact with these rashes also helps in the spread of this infection.

Sneezing and Coughing during Measles attack can contaminate the surrounding.

What are the myths and facts about Measles?

There is an effective vaccination available for the prevention of Measles .Once you are vaccinated then the chances of contracting Measles are nil. If once you contract Measles once then you have become immune to it.

But if you are not vaccinated and not immune, then it is likely that you may be affected anytime until the age of 20.

The myth about vaccination is that it may cause autism in children. Vast studies have shown no such connection. Most parents fear autism and refuse the vaccination to their children, not realizing that the threat of Measles and Mumps can prove serious in childhood.

What causes Measles? What are the risk factors?

The Rubeola virus is highly contagious and is present in the mucus in the nose and in the mouth and throat of an infected person. When an infected person sneezes or coughs, small droplets emanate from the nose and mouth and fall on nearby surfaces. If someone touches that surface and then rubs the eyes and nose then Measles is easily transmitted. The risk factors include no vaccination, international travel without being vaccinated and Vitamin A deficiency.

What are the complications in Measles?

The following are the complications in measles:

  • Ear infection: One of the most common complications of measles is a bacterial ear infection
  • Bronchitis: Inflammation of the voice box or larynx and inflammation of the bronchial tubes of the lungs
  • Pneumonia: Pneumonia is a common complication of measles. People with low immunity can develop pneumonia that is sometimes fatal
  • Encephalitis: In rare cases of measles people develop encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain that may cause vomiting, convulsions, coma or death
  • Pregnancy: Pregnant women need to take special care to avoid measles, because the disease can cause pregnancy loss, early labour or low birth weight
  • Low Platelet Count: Measles may lead to a decrease in platelets which is important for blood clotting
What are the signs and symptoms of Measles?
  • Fever, dry cough, running nose, sore throat, red eyes and irritation in light
  • Tiny white spots found inside the mouth on the inner lining of the cheek
  • A skin rash made up of large, flat blotches that often flow into one another

It takes 14 days for the symptoms to develop fully. Normal rashes and rash from Measles attack are different due to the presence of the above factors so it is time to visit your doctor if the above signs and symptoms last for more than 4 days.

How is Measles diagnosed?

A simple physical examination will reveal the infection. Blood test will determine the disease as Measles, particularly if one is not vaccinated and has been exposed to the risk factors.

What is the treatment for Measles?

Vaccination is the best preventive step. Once you have measles, then within 72 hours get yourself vaccinated which will reduce the discomfort and complications.

Pregnant women, infants and people with weak immune systems should be given the prescribed medication within 6 days which reduces the severity of the symptoms and prevents complications.

Drugs which reduce fever, antibiotics and Vitamin A tablets help treat the Measles in an effective way.

How does one prevent and recover from Measles?

To prevent the spread of Measles as it is very contagious, you have to:

  • Isolate the person or child suffering from Measles
  • Vaccination
  • Discard the myths surrounding vaccination.

At home, put the child with Measles at ease by the following steps:

  • Good monitoring
  • Feeding lots of water and other liquids.
  • Give a sore throat reliever
  • Keeping the lights low and dress them in cotton clothes.
  • Lots of rest for the body.

These steps ensure a speedy recovery.

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