Measles is the most common of the childhood’s diseases. It is a respiratory infection which is highly contagious, caused by the measles virus. At the beginning of the disease a rash appears which spreads all over the body and then flu-like symptoms including high fever, cough, runny nose and eyes.
Being caused by the measles virus, the symptoms disappear on their own without medical treatment once the virus leaves the body. But while your child is sick, it is important to make sure he drinks enough fluids and gets enough plenty of rest and last but not least to prevent spreading the infection to others.
Even if measles is known for the rash that spreads all over the body, the first symptoms of the disease are similar to those of a cold:
In the 2nd, 3rd day, the temperature drops and the flue cough develops.
That is the time to wonder: is it flue or measles?
In this phase, an indicator of measles are Koplik spots, small white spots, prominent, comparable with a grain of gravel, located in the lower right first molar, less often on the gums.
They appear in the final days of incubation period and disappear when the rash appears on the body.
The 4th and 5th days. Temperature rises – can reach even 40 degrees Celsius. Now the measles rash appears, first on the face, then on the trunk and then on arms and legs. The measles rash is made up of patches that disappear upon pressure applying, having a pink color, that are at first small then larger with toothed edges, slightly raised and soft to the touch usually, leaving portions of healthy skin.
After 2-3 days eruptive elements fade and disappear in the order they appeared leaving behind their yellow-brown spots, followed by a final scaling.
Measles rubella and mumps are extremely contagious. When someone with measles sneezes or coughs, that person can spread the measles virus particles through the air, infecting others. This one of the most important measles facts: contamination is made by air from one sick person to another.
Transmission of the virus is done by air through droplets of saliva, nasopharyngeal and conjunctival secretions, which remain suspended in the air and are contagious up to two hours after the subject left the room or other enclosed space.
Contagiosity is high 4-5 days before and 6 days after the rash appears.
Measles treatment is being made under medical supervision. If the disease isn’t complicated, the child can be treated at home – but severe forms of measles, mumps treated in hospital.
If your child was diagnosed with measles, it is important to close monitor: watch the evolution of fever or other symptoms, in order to detect any complications.
In some cases, measles can cause other complications such as diarrhea, bronchitis, pneumonia, conjunctivitis and encephalitis.
Measles can make the body more prone to ear infections, otitis media, and other diseases caused by bacteria, decreasing the body’s defense capabilities.
Note! Since this is a virus, antibiotics have no effect on measles virus! They can only be prescribed by your doctor – but only in the case of complications.
Do not apply any ointment on the rash. Limit yourself at removing the skin with a cloth moistened in water whit alcohol.
A good measles treatment also includes taking care of ocular mucosa. If your eyes hurt, buffered them with cotton soaked in cold water. Although bright light does not affect the eyes, immediately make the room darker to not upset his eyes.
If the fever makes the child feel uncomfortable, you can give medicines to reduce fever but not aspirin, such as those that are based on acetaminophen.
You can bathe your baby after the temperature fells.
Remember: Never ever give aspirin to a child suffering from a viral infection, because aspirin has been associated with Reye’s syndrome in such cases and can cause death of the child.
As in any viral infection, encourage your child to drink plenty of water, fruit juice, tea or lemonade. These will be used to replace fluids lost through sweat and heat during febrile episodes.
Feed your child mashed vegetable soup, pilaf, mashed meat, Perris and food prepared using steam cooking. You may also give him yogurt, bananas, apples and carrots lynx.
Children with measles need more rest to recover. Usually the child can safely return to school after 7-10 days after the fever and the rash disappeared. But to be sure, talk to your child’s doctor.
Yes! There is a measles vaccine. The vaccine can be administered individually or as part of MMR(measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine, which is usually given to children with ages between 12-15 months.
A second dose of measles vaccine is given usually to children with ages between 4-6 years, but no more than 11 – 12 years. In case of contamination with measles, the vaccine can be administered to a child of 9 months, followed by the usual MMR(measles, mumps and rubella) immunization.
Of course there are many exceptions and special circumstances.